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Free trade on the table at APEC Singapore

Free trade on the table at APEC Singapore  article image
Minister for Foreign Affairs Stephen Smith and Minister for Trade Simon Crean are in attendance at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Ministerial Meeting in Singapore to discuss free trade and investment targets set in 1994. The so-called Bogor Goals, named after the summit held in Bogor, Indonesia, were to be achieved by 2010, but it seems most APEC countries will not achieve their targets. Former US Trade Representative Carla Hills said the group had in fact increased trade barriers due to the global economic downturn: "We are now perilously close to 2010, and you cannot make the assertion that the industrialised economies of APEC have free trade of goods and services and investment throughout the Asia-Pacific." Crean said Australia would support the region's economic recovery and said APEC was a good vehicle to do that. "APEC is the leading forum for cooperation and action on economic issues in the region," he said. "The global recession has underlined the importance of APEC’s work on structural economic reform. Tackling behind the border barriers to trade and investment is critical to the development of efficient, resilient and robust economies."

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