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IAPs Show Good Progress Towards Bogor Goals

Hon Lockwood Smith
New Zealand Minister for International Trade
Co-Chair, APEC Ministerial Meeting

Individual Action Plans (IAPs) presented at the APEC Ministerial Meeting show members are making good progress towards achieving APEC¡¦s free trade and investment goals, according to Lockwood Smith, New Zealand¡¦s Trade Minister and Chair of the APEC Ministerial Meeting.
"IAPs lie at the heart of the APEC process. IAPs show how each economy will achieve APEC¡¦s goal of free and open trade and investment across the region by annually measuring progress and future undertakings against 14 separate policy areas including tariffs, non-tariff measures and customs procedures," Dr Smith said.
"This year¡¦s IAP¡¦s are encouraging, showing that members are taking seriously their commitment to liberalise trade and investment regimes in order to achieve the APEC goals of free and open trade and investment across the region by 2010 for APEC¡¦s developed members, and 2020 for developing economies.
Dr Smith said that an independent review of IAPs carried out this year by the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC) shows member economies are making good progress towards the Bogor Goals, particularly in the areas of reducing tariff barriers, investment, standards and conformance, customs and intellectual property rights.
"The PECC review also outlined constructive proposals to improve the IAP mechanism to make the plans more transparent and accessible to the public, and Ministers have asked officials to undertake a work programme that directly addresses these recommendations," Dr Smith said.
"Ministers also directed officials to consider the possibility of instituting a regular cycle of peer reviews for member economies, and welcomed the offer by a further five economies, including Indonesia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore and Thailand, to submit their IAPs for peer review in 2000," Dr Smith concluded.
IAPs are available on the Internet, via the APEC Home Page (address: www.apecsec.org.sg).
Inquiries: Ben King, Press Secretary 025-514-790
1999. Individual Action Plan Highlights
„h Australia is developing a "National Framework for Electronic Commerce." The framework is designed to support businesses as they trade directly with governments and each other in a consistent, secure and low cost environment.
„h As of 6 April 1999, Brunei Darussalam has eliminated tariffs on 30 computer-related items as part of its unilateral tariff reduction programme. Brunei Darussalam is in the final stage of enacting Intellectual Property Rights laws to meet or exceed the requirements of the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights.
„h Canada participated in further liberalisation in the pharmaceutical sector in the Pharam III negotiations in the WTO, and eliminated tariffs on some 640 items effective 1 July 1999. Canada will eliminate telecommunications traffic routing restrictions on 1 October 1999, a year ahead of schedule.
„h Chile reduced its general applied tariff to 10% on 1 January 1999, in accordance with its five year plan to reduce tariffs from 11% to 6% across-the-board by 2003.
„h On 1 January 1999, China reduced tariffs on more than 1000 items ranging from forest products, to textiles, to toys. Reductions ranged from 10%-80%. China¡¦s simple average tariff has fallen from 35.9% in 1996, to 16.7% in 1999. China has also committed to lower its tariff level to approximately 15% by 2000. China will amend its Copyrights Law, Patent Law and Trademark Law to bring these laws and regulations more in line with the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights.
„h Hong Kong, China has announced it will progressively liberalise its facilities-based external telecommunications market through a programme of reforms, the first of which will be implemented from 1 January 2000.
„h Indonesia has removed tariffs on 23 tariff lines of agricultural and chemical products as well as on 147 lines of basic materials for producing auto components. Tariffs have been reduced on more than 100 motor vehicle and auto part tariff lines. Indonesia has also established a maximum time period of 10-20 working days to process investment approvals.
„h Japan¡¦s IAP re-emphasises its commitment to the "Three Year [Deregulation] Programme" of economic structural reform. The revised programme, agreed to by Japan¡¦s Cabinet on 30 March 1999, comprises liberalisation and facilitation measures in a number of IAP sectors including: services, investment, standards and conformance, customs procedures, competition policy, rules-of-origin, and government procurement.
„h As of 1 July 1999, only 21 of 1148 Korean business sectors remained closed, or partially closed to foreign investment, meaning that 99.4% of all Korean Industry is now open to foreign investment. Korea introduced a paperless customs clearance system on 12 July 1999.
„h Malaysia has reduced tariffs on 74 items in the food products, textiles, and raw materials for manufacturing sectors.
„h New Zealand joined the APEC Business Travel Card Scheme in March 1999, which will facilitate the travel of New Zealand business people and other APEC business people into New Zealand.
„h Papua New Guinea removed tariffs on rice, text books and medical supplies, reduced tariffs on food and general necessities from 40% to 8%, and removed all quantitative trade restrictions. PNG will introduce a national competition policy by early 2000 which will provide a basis for legislation.
„h On 17 May 1999, the Monetary Authority of Singapore announced a five year programme to liberalise the domestic banking sector and upgrade local banks.
„h On 10 August 1999 Thailand announced an extensive tariff reform package including tariff reductions covering 639 lines, mainly focussing on capital goods and raw materials. During 1999-2000 Thailand will streamline its telecommunications¡¦ procedures with the objective of preparing to implement the APEC Mutual Recognition Agreement on Conformity Assessment and Telecommunications Equipment. Thailand will grant multiple entry visas, valid for three years, for APEC business people.
„h The United States is working on ways to open up energy retail markets to consumer choice and competition.
„h Viet Nam is starting some cooperative projects with foreign partners on the reform of enterprises to improve competition. Viet Nam plans to improve the mobility of business people in and out of the country.

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