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Highlights of the APEC Leaders Meetings

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release November 11, 2000

Highlights of the APEC Leaders' Meetings

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum was established in 1989 to promote economic integration around the Pacific rim and to help sustain economic growth through cooperation among the economies. The United States was the driving force behind APEC's creation, which was a means of anchoring the United States more firmly in the region in the Post-Cold War era. APEC currently has 21 members: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, The Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam.

The dynamic of APEC as a ministerial-level organization changed dramatically in 1993 when President Clinton invited the Leaders of member economies to Blake Island, Washington, instituting what has become the annual Leaders' Meetings. At this first meeting, Leaders called for continued reduction of trade and investment barriers, envisioning an Asia-Pacific community that promoted prosperity through cooperation. This annual gathering of APEC Leaders has become an important forum for solving regional economic and trade problems and in advancing APEC's ambitious "Bogor goals" -- calling for free and open trade for developed countries by 2010 and developing countries by 2020.

The APEC Leaders' Meeting in Brunei on November 15-16, 2000, will build on the progress of the seven previous meetings:

-- Auckland, New Zealand -- September 11-13, 1999: APEC Leaders sought to maintain the momentum for economic reform as many regional economies emerged from the economic crisis that began in 1997. Leaders approved an agenda designed to foster a new dynamic for the region, strengthen and open markets, reform regulatory regimes and enhance competition and create greater opportunities for business. Specific goals were to launch a new round of WTO trade negotiations and ensure preparations for possible Y2K problems.

-- Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia -- November 17-18, 1998: Leaders agreed to place the tariff-cutting elements of the priority sectors of the Early Voluntary Sectoral Liberalization initiative into the WTO process in order to obtain an early WTO agreement on these sectors by the time of the Seattle WTO Ministerial in November/December 1999. In addition, Leaders re-committed to help the Asia-Pacific region emerge from the financial crisis and return to economic growth. As part of this strategy, they called for economic reforms and a stronger international financial architecture.

-- Vancouver, Canada -- November 24-25, 1997: Leaders endorsed the Early Voluntary Sectoral Liberalization initiative which seeks to cut tariffs in key economic sectors. Nine "priority" sectors identified for immediate action were: chemicals, fish products, forestry products, energy goods and services, environmental goods and services, gems and jewelry, medical equipment, the Telecommunications Mutual Recognition Agreement and toys. Leaders also endorsed a framework of public-private partnerships in infrastructure development aimed at making more resources available for infrastructure investment in the region.

-- Manila, The Philippines -- November 25, 1996: Leaders adopted the Manila Action Plan for APEC which includes individual and collective action plans to achieve the "Bogor Goals" of free and open trade and investment by 2010 and 2020. Leaders endorsed the Information Technology Agreement which led to the conclusion of the agreement in the WTO. Leaders agreed that APEC's economic and technical cooperation activities should focus on six areas: developing human capital, fostering safe and efficient capital markets, strengthening economic infrastructure, harnessing technologies of the future, promoting environmentally sustainable growth and encouraging the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises.

-- Osaka, Japan -- November 19, 1995: Leaders adopted the Osaka Action Agenda, a blueprint for implementing APEC's commitment to free and open trade and investment, business facilitation and economic and technical cooperation.

-- Bogor, Indonesia -- November 15, 1994: Leaders reached a landmark agreement to achieve the goal of free and open trade and investment in the region no later than 2010 for industrialized economies and 2020 for developing economies (the "Bogor Goals".)

-- Blake Island, United States -- November 20, 1993: APEC Leaders envisioned an Asia-Pacific that harnessed the energy of its diverse economies, strengthened cooperation and promoted prosperity. To this end, Leaders called for continued reduction of trade and investment barriers to allow goods, services, capital and investment to flow freely among APEC economies.

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