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APEC: Energy Security, Behind-the-Border Barriers

Energy Security, Behind-the-Border Barriers to Trade seen as Priorities for 2007

Singapore, December 30, 2006 -- The incoming Executive Director of the APEC Secretariat expects APEC to make important progress in 2007 on key global economic issues as Australia becomes APEC host for the year.

Ambassador Colin Heseltine, a career diplomat from Australia, will become APEC’s 15th Executive Director on 1 January 2007.

Ambassador Heseltine said APEC’s key economic and trade priorities in 2007 will be reactivating the WTO Doha Development Agenda negotiations, addressing critical energy issues, progressing structural reform and behind-the border issues and promoting high-quality regional free trade agreements and trade facilitation.

He said that for the first time APEC would, following a decision at the APEC Leaders Meeting in Ha Noi in November 2006, consider means to promote greater regional economic integration, including a Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific as a long term prospect.

He also noted that APEC’s work on human security issues including counter-terrorism, total supply chain security and health and emergency preparedness would remain a major focal point in 2007.

Ambassador Heseltine said APEC reform would be an important focus during the year following the strong mandate from APEC Leaders in 2006 to renew efforts to make the organization more efficient and results-oriented.

Noting that APEC was returning to where it began 18 years ago, when Australia was the first host, Ambassador Heseltine said “the region and its members now faced a vastly more complex environment than in 1989.”

“Not just symbolically, but in a real and practical sense, this is an important time to reinvigorate the organization and to ensure its continuing capacity to deal with new challenges in the Asia-Pacific region,” he said.

Delegates will meet in venues throughout Australia in 2007 beginning with the Senior Officials’ Meeting in Canberra from 15-18 January. This will set APEC’s work program for implementing APEC Leaders’ decisions agreed in Hanoi.

Seven meetings at ministerial level in a wide range of sectors will be held during 2007. The major event of the APEC year, the APEC Economic Leaders Meeting, will be held in Sydney from 8-9 September.

Ambassador Heseltine succeeds Ambassador Tran Trong Toan who served as APEC Executive Director during the APEC Viet Nam year in 2006. Each year the Executive Director is appointed by the host economy.

Ambassador Heseltine has served in the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade since 1969. His appointments have included Ambassador to Korea, Senior Representative in Taipei and Deputy Head of Mission in Beijing.

ends

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