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Leaders Call For Free & Open Trade & Investment


APEC BUSINESS ADVISORY COUNCIL

11 October 2002

MEDIA RELEASE

Business leaders call for free and open trade and investment

In a report to the Leaders of the APEC economies, Asia-Pacific business leaders are calling for APEC economies to reaffirm their commitments to the Bogor Goals for free and open trade and investment.

A new report by the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), the private sector arm of the 21 member Asia-Pacific Economic forum, says APEC should work with a sense of urgency to support the recovery of the global economy.

Key messages to Leaders include the call for APEC economies to reaffirm commitments to the Bogor Goals of free and open trade and investment in the region by 2010 for developed countries and 2020 for developing countries, and to undertake initiatives to secure desirable outcomes from WTO negotiations. An early harvest in reduction of agricultural subsidies and anti-dumping actions should be pursued.

The report also highlights the effects of terrorism on the entire business environment, saying it stifles and erodes confidence. “The APEC community must therefore join forces to enhance security, curtail terrorist financing and develop effective management processes to resist, respond and recover from crises.”

ABAC New Zealand representatives are: Sir Dryden Spring, Asia 2000 Chairman, ABAC Business Facilitation Task Force Chairman, and Fletcher Forests Chairman; Peter Masfen, Montana Group Executive Chairman; and Wendy Pye, Wendy Pye Group Managing Director.

Speaking in Wellington today, Sir Dryden said the report made it clear that there is considerable uncertainty about the global economy - heightened by the collapse of asset prices and major corporate governance failures. Concerns about security, since September 11 last year, have also affected business decisions as well as the flow of commerce.

He said that along with ABAC’s key messages to APEC economy Leaders, ABAC is particularly calling on Leaders to:

- Take urgent action to free up access and eliminate export subsidies in agricultural products.

- Take urgent action to restore investor confidence by way of measures to improve corporate governance standards and practices, and promote the transparency of policies affecting trade and investment.

- Undertake concerted public and private sector action aimed at promoting economic growth, and restoring confidence and integrity in financial systems, markets and companies.

- Remove impediments in the economic and business environment to free the entrepreneurial spirit in our populations - redoubling efforts to create an enabling environment for small and medium enterprise growth through reduced compliance costs and improved access to information, technology and financing.

- Improve communication of the benefits of trade liberalisation and regional integration in order to generate momentum to achieve the Bogor Goals.

- Implement the APEC Food System and in particular renounce the use of food embargoes.

The report says APEC is at the halfway point towards the Bogor Goals, and must take decisive steps to reenergise itself and build momentum.

ABAC members will formally present their report to APEC Leaders when they meet in Los Cabos, Mexico, October 21-24.

ENDS

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