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APEC ministers explore free trade in mining.

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14 February, 2007


APEC Mining Ministers meeting in Perth this week have today agreed to work on breaking down the barriers to greater trade and investment in the minerals and metals sector.

"APEC Ministers will analyse the effects that free trade in minerals and metals would have on the sector and explore practical ways to increase trade and investment opportunities," said Australian Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources, Ian Macfarlane.

"This study will include recommendations from industry attendees at the forum, aiming to enhance the government-industry partnership approach already adopted in Australia."

At today's meeting, the Ministers also agreed that cooperation and consultation will overcome significant challenges confronting resources security throughout the APEC economies.

"We discussed regulatory frameworks and agreed they should not be unduly prescriptive, but should strive to establish performance goals and outcomes."

In keeping with these objectives, Ministers will also explore greater regional economic integration.

"An important outcome was wider acknowledgement that trends and drivers of mineral markets in APEC economies differed between commodities, and that Ministers could improve transparency by making more exploration data available to the market."

"We agreed to the 10 APEC Mining Policy Principles, committing to stewardship of the industry and to delivering important business improvements in mining."

The Ministers also agreed increased participation and employment of Indigenous communities in mining was to be encouraged and that industry must be engaged to address the mining skills shortage common to all APEC economies.

"The meeting of Mining Ministers has been a great success and the fact we have come so far in such a short time highlights the incredible work that has been undertaken before and during this forum," Mr Macfarlane said.