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APEC on “solid foundation”: Lavrov

APEC on “solid foundation”: Lavrov

Issued by the 24th APEC Ministerial Meeting

Vladivostok, Russia, 5 September 2012 – Considerable progress has been made by APEC member economies in advancing their 2012 agenda, said Russian Federation Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov when he opened the 24th APEC Ministerial Meeting on Wednesday in Vladivostok.

Meeting under the theme “Integrate to grow, innovate to prosper,” APEC Ministers took stock of today’s pressing global challenges and how member economies are leveraging opportunities for resurgent growth through greater collective action in APEC’s 2012 priorities.

“As you know, Russia has adjusted to focus efforts on such priority areas as liberalization of trade and investment, regional economic integration, improving connectivity of supply chains, food security and fostering innovative growth,” said Lavrov, co-chair of the meeting, here in Russia’s gateway to Asia.

“Ministers’ engagement and readiness to field those agenda items with the substance and readiness to engage proactively in enhancing cooperation allowed us to achieve specific results and lay a solid foundation to further work together.”

Ministers discussed the World Trade Organization (WTO) Doha Development Agenda and heard a report from the WTO’s Deputy Director-General Rufus Yerxa. In particular, they explored the development of the multilateral trading system as well as trade and investment liberalization and regional economic integration.

“Now that all APEC economies are also World Trade Organization members following Russia’s accession in August, our confidence in the value of a rules-based system underscores our efforts to increase regional coordination to stimulate exports and global economic growth,” said Lavrov.

“I’m glad we agree that we must take different, fresh and credible approaches for pushing the Doha Development Agenda negotiating process forward as well as on mechanisms for combating protectionism,” he continued.

APEC Ministers separately considered ways to further work on ‘next generation’ trade and investment issues in the region. Trade agreement transparency guides and supply chain improvement were some of the initiatives in the spotlight.

“Taking action against protectionism is essential to improving the trading environment for companies and workers and to contributing to the realization of a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific,” said Russia’s Economic Development Minister Andrey Belousov, who also co-chaired the meeting.

To ensure the Asia-Pacific’s expanding food security needs, APEC Ministers furthermore discussed how to better facilitate trade and investment in food products, boost food production and productivity, and enhance food safety and quality. They emphasized ways to promote an open, stable, and transparent agricultural trading system.

Ministers also examined ongoing efforts to enhance emergency preparedness across APEC economies. A first-year assessment of APEC’s Consolidated Counter-Terrorism and Secure Trade Strategy implementation was among the agenda items, with the goal of making regional commerce and travel more secure, efficient and resilient.

On Thursday, Ministers will discuss the establishment of reliable supply chains as well as how to foster innovative growth.

The two-day APEC Ministerial Meeting sets the stage for the 2012 APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting, hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin, here in Vladivostok later this week on 8-9 September.

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