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Terrorism and trade high on APEC agenda.

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Trade News Mark Vaile - Trade Minister Deputy Leader of the National Party

Parliament House, Canberra 2600 Ph: +61 2 6277 7420 Fx: +61 2 6273 4128

Wednesday 23 October 2002 MVT129/2002


The fight against terrorism and the need to keep forward momentum in the WTO Doha Round of negotiations were the key issues addressed by Trade Minister, Mark Vaile on day one of the three-day APEC Ministerial Meeting and CEO Summit in Los Cabos, Mexico.

Speaking from Los Cabos, Mr Vaile said the APEC Ministerial Meeting is the first major international meeting since the devastating tragedy in Bali and the ramifications for the region were clearly a major concern for all his foreign and trade ministerial colleagues from the 21 economies of APEC.

“The Bali tragedy underscored the pressing need for APEC to intensify its individual and joint efforts to defeat terrorism,” Mr Vaile said.

“Every day we don’t act on every aspect necessary to close the door on terrorism is another day for those who would commit mass murder and undermine the economic stability of all the members of APEC, both developed and developing economies.”

“Today I outlined Australia’s efforts to counter terrorism in the region and underlined the need for APEC to move forward decisively in Los Cabos.

“APEC has done a great deal to address terrorism since Leaders met in Shanghai last October following the attacks in the US on 11 September 2001. However Bali requires that ministers in Los Cabos help APEC Leaders give a strong and clear commitment to back up the sense of outrage and political resolve with a new package of concrete counter-terrorism measures.”

Mr Vaile said that Australia has already committed more than $28 million to help regional neighbours address counter-terrorism, border control and law enforcement activities.

“We are prepared to look at how we can build on these efforts to ensure no time is wasted in the fight against terrorism.”

APEC Ministers also discussed the prospects for the Doha Round of WTO negotiations with Dr Supachai, the Director-General of the WTO.

“I underlined the need for Ministers to be closely involved to provide the political momentum necessary to bring the Round to a close on-time in 2005.

“It was encouraging that my colleagues recognised the need for agriculture to be at the centre of Doha Round outcomes if an acceptable overall result is to be achieved.

“In particular I stressed the need to ensure that we met all of the deadlines and schedules in the lead-up to the 5th WTO Ministerial Conference next year in Cancun, Mexico. The Mini-Ministerial which I will host in Sydney next month will be an important contribution to achieving this outcome in Cancun.

Mr Vaile also announced the launch of a new $3 million Australian Regional WTO Capacity Building Project to assist regional developing countries participate in the WTO.

Media Contact: Mark Croxford +52 624 141 5929