APEC Economic Leaders Make Ha Noi Declaration

Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet (C) delivers the final declaration at the end of the Asian-Pacific leaders meeting in Hanoi, 19 November 2006. All 21 Asia-Pacific leaders wore dresses

Economic leaders of member economies of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum have made the Ha Noi Declaration during their 14th meeting in Viet Nam’s capital on 18-19 November.

The APEC 2006 theme is “Towards a Dynamic Community for Sustainable Development and Prosperity.” Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet was the chairman of the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting.

“With a strong commitment to achieving the vision of stability, security and prosperity for the Asia-Pacific region, we agreed to make every effort for realizing APEC’s goals of free and open trade and investment,” says the six-page statement.

“We dedicated ourselves to preventing threats to sustainable development, to building a secure and favorable business environment and to enhancing human security. We pledged to continue our work towards a dynamic and harmonious Asia-Pacific community by building strong societies for the well-being of our peoples,” the statement says.

The document covers three subjects: advancing free trade and investment; enhancing human security; and building stronger societies and a more dynamic and harmonious community.

Embracing free trade, the APEC leaders reaffirmed that support for the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) remains a top priority of APEC.

“The consequences of the failure of the Doha Round would be too grave for our economies and for the global multilateral trading system. We should, therefore, spare no efforts to break the current deadlocks and achieve an ambitious and overall balanced outcome of the round with the development dimension being at its core.”

“Our will and resolve were stated in the 14th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting Statement on the DDA of the WTO.”

Regarding enhancing human security, the APEC leaders condemned terrorist acts, which are posing serious threats world-wide.

“In keeping with our commitment to advance regional prosperity and sustainable development and our complementary mission of ensuring security for our peoples, we are determined to continue efforts to combat terrorism in every form and manifestation,” says the APEC Ha Noi Declaration.

“We reaffirmed that any measures taken to combat terrorism must comply with our international obligations.”

“We welcomed the APEC 2006 counter-terrorism initiatives endorsed by Ministers and encouraged member economies to take appropriate individual and joint actions, in accordance with international law and consistent with each economy’s circumstances, to implement the existing commitments with a view to enhancing secure trade in the region.”

The APEC leaders endorsed the APEC Action Plan on Prevention and Response to Avian and Influenza Pandemics adopted in May 2006. They also affirmed their commitment to its implementation.

Besides, they welcomed the Beijing consensus adopted at the APEC Symposium on Emerging Infectious Diseases. The leaders commended the collaboration in APEC on health and emergency preparedness and urged continued multi-sectoral, regional and international cooperation on policies and infrastructure to mitigate pandemic influenza.

The APEC leaders agreed to enhance cooperation within APEC on HIV/AIDS, and resolved to expand efforts towards combating the spread of HIV/AIDS, ensuring the protection of the rights of those living with the disease; and achieving the United Nations declared goal of universal access to comprehensive prevention programs, treatment, care and support by 2010.

Regarding building stronger societies and a more dynamic and harmonious community, the Ha Noi Declaration says the APEC leaders understood many other tasks remain to be fulfilled.

“We recognized the importance of economic and technical cooperation to ensure equitable growth and shared prosperity in the region and global competitiveness as a foundation to advance trade and investment liberalization and facilitation. We welcomed the outcomes and efforts to strengthen the prioritization and effective implementation of economic and technical cooperation through APEC forums.”

The APEC leaders underlined the importance of small and medium sized enterprises and urged member economies to make every effort to develop and implement specific measures to improve their competitiveness, innovation and entrepreneurship in line with the "Ha Noi Declaration on Strengthening SME Competitiveness for Trade and Investment” and “the Daegu Initiative on SME Innovation Action Plan".

The leaders endorsed the Hoi An Declaration on Promoting Tourism adopted by APEC Tourism Ministers and urged member economies to further explore opportunities for tourism cooperation and to identify the impediments to the travel and tourism industry.

They also endorsed in full the joint statement agreed by Ministers at the 18th APEC Ministerial Meeting also in Ha Noi in the APEC Week.

Here is the entire Ha Noi Declaration.

By Tuong Thuy

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