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A Confusing Day At APEC Ministers Meeting

The confusing nature of trade negotiations and the difficulty in deciding what exactly are the terms of success and failure were underlined on the opening day of the APEC Trade Ministers; meeting in Auckland today.

The New Zealand Government is determined to get back on track the original aim of APEC to open up all trade in the region. This follows a succession of disappointing rounds of negotiations that saw a number of countries only give in areas that were in their interests and to resist in other areas.

The initial signs yesterday were not good with indications officials could not agree on a unified stance at the next round of trade talks at the World Trade Organisation, however by the end of the day after a series of negative reports, it appears agreement was reached.

Initial reports said that trade ministers had backed away from specific proposals on freeing up trade and a draft report by individual APEC countries was too vague and lacked credibility.

However in a press conference late this afternoon, Lockwood Smith, said a consensus on the next round of talks at the World Trade Organisation had been reached with an agreement that negotiations over 'industrials' goods would be included in the next WTO round. This will be in addition to the already agreed upon areas of agriculture and services.

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