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Final Preparations For APEC Ministers And Leaders

Press Release
13 August 1999

Final Preparations Made For APEC Ministers And Leaders

Senior Officials from APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) economies today concluded their final preparations for Ministers and Leaders who will gather in Auckland, New Zealand, within a month.

The third and final APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting, held in Rotorua, New Zealand, finalised the work programme for 1999. Recommendations from the meeting will now be submitted to the APEC Ministerial Meeting to be held in Auckland on 9-10 September, and to APEC Economic Leaders on 12-13 September.

The Chair of the Senior Officials’ Meeting, Maarten Wevers, said today that his colleagues had worked intensively and constructively over the past year to advance the APEC agenda.

“I have been very gratified by the support from around the region for the objectives that New Zealand has set for its APEC year, and am pleased that we have been able to provide a solid series of proposals as the basis for the meetings of Ministers and Leaders,” Mr Wevers said.

“Although there was a considerable workload for officials at these APEC meetings in Rotorua, I was pleased that we were able to conclude all the tasks we had before us, in preparation for Auckland. All the sessions were characterised by a cooperative and positive atmosphere, and Rotorua provided exactly the environment we needed to do our work.”

He said that, among other things, officials from APEC’s 21 member economies:

Had received reviews on the Individual Action Plan process, and its effectiveness, and had agreed to recommend improvements to Ministers for decision in Auckland. (The Individual Action Plan process is the key means by which APEC member economies identify progress towards the Bogor Goals of free and open trade and investment in the APEC region).

Discussed further possibilities for APEC’s contribution to the preparatory process for the Third WTO Ministerial Conference, as directed by APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade in June in Auckland.

Received an update on APEC cooperation over Y2K, including further activities planned between now and the end of the year to enhance contingency planning for cross-border impacts arising from Y2K (eg seminars in Thailand, Peru and Korea).

Considered the economic outlook for the region and the importance of further trade and investment liberalisation, and strengthening of regional economies, as means of achieving growth in trade, output, employment and income.

Agreed recommendations to be submitted to Ministers and Leaders on the APEC Food System and the Framework for the Integration of Women in APEC. (The APEC Food System was recommended to APEC Leaders in Kuala Lumpur last year by the private sector APEC Business Advisory Council, and seeks to build better linkages between consumers, producers and processors of food in APEC economies, through the development of rural infrastructure, promotion of trade in food products, and the enhancement of agricultural technology. The Framework for the Integration of Women in APEC, which is being prepared in response to a request from Leaders, is about increasing APEC’s ability to take into account “gender perspectives” – of women and men – when developing policies and projects.)

Senior Officials would gather again in Auckland for an informal meeting immediately prior to the Ministerial and Leaders’ Meetings, to consider any final issues that needed to be addressed.

New Zealand’s policy themes for APEC New Zealand 99 are creating new opportunities for business, strengthening the functioning of markets and broadening support.

* * * *

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