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APEC meeting begins; focus on trade
Singapore, Nov 11 (Agencies):
Published on 11 Nov. 2009 11:59 PM IST
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The 21st APEC Ministerial Meeting opened here Wednesday morning at Singapore's Suntec Convention Center, with a focus on the multilateral trading system and regional economic integration in the post-crisis era. The Foreign and Trade ministers and representatives of the 21 APEC member economies are attending the two-day meeting, to make final preparations for the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting (AELM) slated for Nov. 14-15. During the meeting, they were expected to reaffirm their support for the multilateral trading system, and take stock of the trade-related developments in the Asia-Pacific region and the status of the Doha Round of WTO negotiations. They would also review the work done in 2009 on regional economic integration and discuss growth issues, including fostering inclusive and sustainable growth. Against the backdrop of incipient recovery from the global economic recession, the ministerial-level officials were also expected to reaffirm their stand to resist trade protectionism. A joint statement was expected to be issued after the AMM meeting. Asia-Pacific ministers warned Wednesday that signs of recovery in the global economy are merely a respite, and future growth hinges on freer trade and improved social safety nets in Asia. Finance and foreign ministers meeting in Singapore for this week's annual APEC meeting are mulling ways to keep economic recovery going once lavish stimulus spending ebbs, while tackling other regional security and political issues. The forum culminates in a weekend summit of heads of state from APEC's 21 economies, including President Barack Obama. The economic crisis is "by no means over," warned Singapore's foreign minister, George Yeo, urging nations to persist in opening markets wider.

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