July 22, 2009
SINGAPORE, July 22 (Xinhua) — Trade ministers from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies agreed here on Wednesday to extend till the end of 2010 the commitment to refrain from raising new barriers to trade and investment in the region.
APEC leaders undertook in November 2008 to refrain till end 2009 from raising new barriers to investment or to trade in goods and services, imposing new export restrictions, or implementing WTO inconsistent measures in all areas, including those that stimulate exports.
"We agreed to extend the above commitment for another year, that is until 2010, and stand ready to extend this further, if necessary," trade ministers attending the Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting of APEC 2009 said in a statement after the meeting.
They added that they will "promptly notify the WTO of any measures that fall short of these commitments."
The trade ministers said in the statement that the global economy appears to be bottoming out, but the outlook remains uncertain and significant risks remain, adding that sustaining trade and investment flows remains critical to the future prosperity.
The statement said that APEC economies agreed to design policy responses to the crisis, including fiscal policy and action in support of the financial sector, in a manner that minimizes distortion to trade and investment.
The trade ministers said that they will regularly review their commitment to free trade and open markets, and keep their markets open and continue to reduce barriers to trade and investment, using the crisis as an opportunity for reform.
The two-day Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting, which kicked off here on Tuesday, is the first APEC Ministerial Meeting of APEC 2009 chaired by Singapore. Trade ministers from 21 APEC economies are here to discuss policy responses to the economic crisis as well as preparing for recovery in the longer-term.
Editor: Fang Yang