Apec trade ministers to mull ways to harmonise RTAs & FTAs

Bernama, Malaysia

Apec Trade Ministers To Mull Ways To Harmonise RTAs & FTAs

29 June 2007

KUALA LUMPUR, June 29 (Bernama) — Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) trade ministers will meet next week to mull ways to standardise rules in regional and free trade pacts so that countries face fewer complications when they are members of several accords.

Such a move will bring about a standard set of "comprehensive and high quality" measures for regional and free trade agreements (RTAs/FTAs), thus contributing towards a larger scale of economic integration.

"As the model measures will serve as the guideline, they should also be consistent and complement the multilateral trading system to ensure a positive impact on trade and investment liberalisation," the Ministry of International Trade and Investment (Miti) said in a statement today.

The issue will be deliberated at the Meeting of Apec Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT) to be held on July 5-6 in Cairns, Australia. Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz is leading the Malaysian delegation to the meeting.

Australia, as host and chair of Apec 2007, has picked the theme "Strengthening our Community, Building a Sustainable Future" to respond to the forces of regional economic integration, the economic reform agenda, energy issues, clean development and climate change, and competitive regionalism.

Ministers will also discuss the Trade Facilitation Action Plan II which aims to further reduce trade transaction costs by five percent by 2010.

They will also review and assess the current state of World Trade Organisation (WTO) talks. They will consider actions to be taken towards achieving a successful conclusion of the Doha Round.

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