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APEC Meeting Releases Statement Supporting Multilateral Trading System

BALI, Indonesia, October 8, 2013 (Xinhua) --

The 21st informal economic leaders' meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) released on Tuesday a statement, supporting a multilateral trading system and the 9th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

"We reaffirm our commitment to the strengthening of the multilateral trading system and to the successful outcomes of the 9th Ministerial Conference (MC9) of the WTO in Bali," said the statement.

The leaders recognized the importance of a strong multilateral trading system in safeguarding trade expansion that serves as a source of economic growth, job creation, and sustainable development, it said.

"We remain committed in this regard to continuing to strengthen the rules-based, transparent, non-discriminatory, open, and inclusive multilateral trading system as enshrined in the principles and values of the WTO," it added.

Noting that "We are committed to fighting against protectionist measures for their impact on weakening trade and slowing down the global economic recovery," the leaders decided to extend the standstill commitment until the end of 2016 and reaffirm the commitment to rolling back protectionist and trade-distorting measures, according to the statement.

The leaders stressed the importance of further curbing protectionism through the WTO and other international organizations.

Recognizing that Doha is at an impasse, the leaders said "We are now at the eleventh hour to put the negotiating function of the WTO back on track. Thus, the next step we take will be critical to the multilateral trading system and the role of the WTO."

The leaders acknowledged the urgency to achieve successful outcomes at the MC9, to be held in Bali in December, and make the meeting a "stepping stone" to future progress in the Doha Round trade negotiations, and further multilateral trade liberalization, said the statement.

"We will continue to respect the Doha mandate and its development dimension," it said.

The leaders pledged to push forward negotiations on trade facilitation, some elements of agriculture, and development, while acknowledging that progress in the negotiations of these issues are "of utmost importance."

They also vowed to instruct negotiators to "re-double their efforts" to complete negotiations on this package before the commencement of the MC9, said the statement.

The leaders strongly encourage all WTO members, particularly major players, to show their political will and necessary flexibilities in order to bridge existing gaps and deliver positive and balanced results at the MC9.

With the APEC economies representing more than half of the world's GDP and 44 percent of global trade, the leaders stand ready to make significant contribution in ensuring tangible outcomes by delivering an early harvest at the MC9, it said.

The leaders encourage a swift conclusion of negotiations to expand product coverage of the WTO Information Technology Agreement (ITA) before the MC9, and also seek expanded membership of the ITA, said the document.

The leaders also reasserted their commitment to promoting green growth and seeking practical, development-supportive, and trade-enhancing solutions to address global environmental challenges.

They reaffirm the importance of the effective integration of developing economies into the multilateral trading system and to equally benefit from global trade, according to the document.

Editor: Luan

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