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APEC Ministers push for more open markets.

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Trade News

Mark Vaile — Trade Minister

Deputy Leader of the National Party


Friday, September 10, 1999



APEC Ministers push for more open markets


Australian Trade Minister, Mark Vaile, has heralded the outcome of the APEC Trade Ministers meeti ng in Auckland as a milestone for freer and fairer trade.


“The outcome is great news for Australian exporters, particularly for agricultural exporters,” Mr Vaile said.


Mr Vaile said APEC called on the WTO to abolish export subsidies and unjustifiable export restrictions, as well as negotiating better agricultural market access.


“This is a powerful message from APEC. It takes us further than we have ever been on how ambitious new agriculture negotiations will be.


“The meeting has set a new benchmark for the world trading community with its specific proposals heading to the Seattle WTO Ministerial Meeting in ten weeks time. It was a productive meeting, and we have made some very important decisions.”


Highlights from the Ministerial communique include:


·  A strong call to launch a new WTO Round in Seattle, to be concluded in 3 years.


·  Agreement that the different issues on the WTO agenda be “finalised, bound and fully implemented as a single package” - a critical breakthrough that keeps agriculture at the fore of a new WTO round and not in the too-hard-basket, by linking results together.


·  Accelerate work in the WTO to implement the ATL sectoral liberalisation package by the end of next year - sectors include fish and forest products, medical equipment, gems and jewellery, toys, environmental goods and services, and energy.


·  A call for an extension of the moratorium on E-commerce duties at the Seattle WTO Ministerial Meeting


·  Support for reaching an agreement on transparency in government procurement at Seattle.


APEC also finalised efforts to make it easier to do business in the region. A Mutual Recognition Arrangement on conformance testing of Electrical and Electronic Goods was reached. This will save the costs of multiple testing throughout the reg ion.


Contact: Bruce Mills 02 6277 7420



rw  1999-09-14  11:00