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APEC Ministers Discuss Trade Negotiations, Climate Change, Global Security

06 September 2007

Trade and foreign ministers from the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum say stalled international trade negotiations, climate change and global security should top the agenda when APEC leaders hold their summit talks on Saturday and Sunday. VOA's Nancy-Amelia Collins reports from Sydney, where the meetings will be held.

Australian Trade Minister Warren Truss says stalled World Trade Organization negotiations, known as the Doha Round of talks, was the most thoroughly discussed topic during the ministers' meeting.

"Perhaps the most extensive debate that occurred at the ministerial meeting surrounded the Doha agenda and the need to reach a satisfactory conclusion to the multilateral trade talks as quickly as possible," he said. "All delegates were clearly seized with the urgency of doing whatever we can to bring the Doha negotiations to a successful conclusion."

The WTO talks have stalled over disagreements between developed and developing nations over agricultural subsidies and access for imported goods.

Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer says participants agreed that global warming should be a high priority when the heads of state and government from APEC's 21 economies formally convene here Saturday and Sunday.

"Ministers have welcomed the decision to make climate change and clean development a key focus for the leaders' discussion," he said.

Downer says security issues and counter-terrorism were also key points of the ministers' discussions.

"We also endorsed a strong counter-terrorism program, including ways to counter terrorist financing and to protect our food supply, IT systems, energy infrastructure and mass transit from terrorist attacks," he added.

The ministers' recommendations will be forwarded to the government leaders who have been arriving here over the past several days.

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