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Opening Remarks by Chairman and Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan at APEC Ministerial Meeting

2001-10-17 00:00

   Dear Colleagues,
   Ladies and Gentlemen,
   I am so glad to have you with us in Shanghai in this golden  autumn for a review of all the agenda items of the APEC Ministerial  Meeting. Allow me to extend, on behalf of the Chinese Government,  our warm welcome to all of you.
   As you have seen for yourselves, Shanghai is a vigorous  and dynamic city and an epitome of the rapid economic and social  development in China. It is making momentous progress in its  modernization drive thanks to the development efforts. The ancient  "Oriental Pearl" is shining more splendidly in the new century.
   The past decade is also one of rapid expansion of regional  cooperation and remarkable achievements of APEC. APEC has set  up Bogor goals of achieving trade and investment liberalization  by 2010 for developed members and by 2020 for developing ones.  APEC has created a unique approach featuring a combination of  individual and collective actions. It has vigorously promoted  the development of a multilateral trading regime and carried  out various forms of economic and technical cooperation. There  is no doubt that APEC has become one of the most important economic  forum in the region and even in the world. It has provided rare  opportunities for dialogue and exchange of views by Leaders  of member economies in the Asia-Pacific and for discussions  on frontier issues related to the global and regional economy.  It has played a guiding role in the formulation of policy frameworks  on many issues. Therefore, APEC has made positive contribution  to maintaining peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific and enhancing  its economic prosperity and development.
   The APEC success is attributable not only to the common  aspiration of all its members for a sustainable economic growth  through cooperation but also to the APEC Approach of voluntarism,  consensus-building, flexibility, and gradualism, an approach  that suits the region. A more important factor for its success  is that it has stood at the forefront and advanced with the  times in response to the latest development in the global and  regional economy.
   This is the first APEC ministerial meeting in the new century.  We are faced with many new opportunities and challenges. The  economic growth of the world and the Asia-Pacific has, on the  whole, slowed down. The impact of the terrorist attacks on 11  September on the economy has become visible. How to promote  growth and restore confidence in the market is an issue on the  top of our agenda. Meanwhile, the development of economic globalization  and the New Economy has brought about more benefits and business  opportunities for the region and people. But, how to enable  people from all sectors to benefit from it without widening  the development gaps between them is a challenge we must take  up. The multilateral trading system is also at a crucial juncture.  The WTO Conference to be held in Doha in November has attracted  worldwide attention. In addition, how to give full play to the  unique role of APEC, deepen cooperation and maintain steady  economic growth in the region against the general economic slowdown  in the Asia-Pacific and the world? These are the issues we must  address.
   In view of this, we have decided on the theme of this year's  APEC meetings, that is, "Meeting New Challenges in the New Century:  Achieving Common Prosperity through Participation and Cooperation".  In the coming two days, we will discuss the following issues  centering around this theme:
   I. Advancing trade and investment. We will further exchange  views within APEC on how to contribute to the 4th WTO Ministerial  Conference and make specific recommendations on capacity building.  The individual action plans for trade and investment liberalization,  trade facilitation principles and other new initiatives will  be main topics of our discussion.
   II.Sharing the benefits of globalization and New Economy.  We will discuss ways to strengthen the tripartite cooperation  among government, business sectors and academic and training  institutions on the basis of the outcome of the APEC High-Level  Meeting on Human Capacity Building. APEC should establish a  more effective participation mechanism in the course of economic  and technical cooperation. Meanwhile, we will endorse the e-APEC  Strategy, a long-term, action-oriented strategy for APEC to  build a digital society in the region.
   III. Promoting a sustainable economic growth of the Asia-Pacific  region. We hope that our discussions will help us to expand  consensus on ways to respond to the challenges facing the global  economic situation. We should take effective fiscal and financial  measures to stabilize the market, restore confidence and facilitate  growth so as to enable all the APEC economies to come out, as  soon as possible, of the economic slowdown and the shadow of  the 11 September terrorist attacks and onto the road to a sustained  and steady growth. To this end, we will continue to cooperate  with finance ministers, increase dialogues on macro-economic  policies among the APEC members and make progress in capacity  building in the financial sector, with a view to laying a solid  foundation for the future economic development in the region.
   At the same time, we will forge closer ties with a wide  range of groups and organizations and expand exchanges and cooperation  with people from all walks of life so as to enable the business  community, young people, women and people from other sectors  to benefit from APEC economic cooperation.
   Dear Colleagues,
   Autumn is a season for harvest. Thanks to the hard work  by our officials over the past few months, all the preparation  work for this year's APEC meetings is by and large completed.  I am convinced that this Ministerial Meeting will produce rich  deliverables in all the above-mentioned fields to be submitted  to this year's Economic Leaders Meeting. I hope that we will  not only produce practical results but also inject fresh vigor  to APEC development in its second decade and work out a blueprint  for its future development.    
   I am sure that I can count on you for your support to China  in chairing this meeting. I hope that you will demonstrate a  practical, flexible and cooperative spirit in the coming two  days. I believe that with your close collaboration, this meeting  will be a great success.
   Thank you.

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