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Vaile to pursue trade objectives at APEC meeting.

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Media Release

15 October 2003 - MVT79/2003

Vaile to Pursue Trade Objectives at APEC Meeting

Trade Minister Mark Vaile will push for strong APEC support to re-energise the World Trade Organisation Doha Development Round of trade negotiations at the APEC Ministerial Meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, 17-18 October.

The APEC Ministers meeting comes one month after the WTO Ministerial Conference in Cancun failed to reach agreement on a number of core issues needed to progress the Doha Round.

" The APEC meeting provides an important opportunity for ministers to assess the outcomes from Cancun and to explore options for overcoming obstacles to get the Doha Round back on track," Mr Vaile said.

" A successful Doha Round is vital to the continued economic growth and prosperity of the APEC region. In particular, Australia and the APEC region have a great deal to gain from improved market access for agriculture, a key focus of the Round."

APEC Ministers will discuss the continued implementation of measures to protect the region from terrorism, particularly its impact on trade and economic activity.

" APEC has been actively responding to the threats terrorism poses to the safety, economic security and prosperity of the Asia Pacific region," Mr Vaile said.

" This meeting will pursue additional measures to improve security surveillance mechanisms for passenger and cargo transport systems to further protect the region from terrorism."

Ministers will also progress efforts to reduce the costs of doing business in the region via the APEC trade facilitation initiative which promises a $154 billion rise in APEC's GDP.

Mr Vaile will take the opportunity to meet with a number of counterparts including United States Trade Representative Robert Zoellick, to discuss developments in the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement negotiations, and Thailand's Commerce Minister, Adisai Bodharamik, to discuss progress on the Australia-Thailand Closer Economic Relations FTA. He will also meet with WTO Director-General Dr Supachai to discuss options for re-energising the WTO Doha Round of negotiations.

Contact: Matthew Doman 02 6277 7420