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CEOs seek to standardize FTA rules at APEC

Korea Times, 2 November 2005

CEOs Seek to Standardize FTA Rules at APEC

By Choi Kyong-ae
Staff Reporter

Economies in the Asia-Pacific region need to establish standard FTA (free trade agreements) guidelines as FTAs between the countries have no fundamental rules or principles, the APEC CEO Summit chairman said Wednesday.

``With little progress in the World Trade Organization’s multilateral trade talks, many Asian economies have turned to bilateral free trade talks. These bilateral FTAs vary from one case to another at the risk of creating great confusion,’’ said Hyun Jae-hyun, who chairs the Nov. 17-18 APEC CEO Summit in Pusan (Busan). He said that he will push for the establishment of an FTA guideline during the CEO summit.

He also said Asian economies should further cooperate to facilitate trade and investment among them with entrepreneurship and transparency.

``South Korea, an export-driven country, will be ultimately one of the biggest beneficiaries of the free trade agreement. It has to further seek freer trade and more exchanges with other economies to survive,’’ Hyun said.

In the APEC CEO Summit, Korean companies and their counterparts in the Asia-Pacific region will be able to talk about pending issues such as China’s growing economic power and its impact on neighboring economies.

Chinese President Hu Jin Tao will participate in a session to explain China’s rapid growth and changes in recent years and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will talk about natural disasters and global responsibility. A total of 10 heads of state will join sessions to present keynote speeches.

With about 800 applications for the CEO summit, Korea needs to use its significant geopolitical status to attract as many as foreign direct investments, he added.