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Archive for November 24th, 2008|Daily archive page

APEC ministers voice against protectionism

In Uncategorized on November 24, 2008 at 1:55 pm

Hanoi (VNA) – Foreign and trade ministers of twenty-one Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies made a pledge on November 20 against protectionism and urged a quick breakthrough in global trade talks to beat the financial crisis.

The commitment, which was made following the two-day APEC Ministerial Meeting in Peruvian capital, Lima, called for countries and territories within the Asia Pacific ring to reject protectionism and make stronger efforts in maintaining open trade and investment liberalisation and facilitation.

“We will stand firm against protectionist sentiment arising out of this crisis. In this way, we will play our full part in promoting recovery, growth and development,” ministers said in the joint statement.

In the statement, which lays the groundwork for the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting to be held late this week in Lima, Asia Pacific ministers have reaffirmed their opposition to trade and investment barriers.

APEC ministers not only have reached a consensus to push forward the Doha talks but also agreed on the direction to conclude it.

The Doha negotiations, which started in 2001, has come to a deadlock over the past seven years and repeatedly missed deadlines. The latest setback came in July when World Trade Organisation trade ministers failed to wrap up the negotiations due to disagreements between the US and India on a special safeguard mechanism for agricultural products of developing countries.-

APEC discusses global financial crisis, food security

In Uncategorized on November 24, 2008 at 1:54 pm

Hanoi (VNA) – APEC foreign and trade ministers gathered on November 19 and 20 in Lima, Peru, to discuss the global financial crisis, food security and WTO trade talks, among other issues.

The 20th APEC ministerial meeting attracted the participation of representatives from the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC), the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) and 21 APEC member economies.

The Vietnamese delegation at the meeting was led by permanent Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh and Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Cam Tu.

“Our commitment is to strengthen regional cooperation through APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) forum to address the challenging financial and economic outlook,” the ministers were quoted as saying in a statement following their two-day meeting.

The ministers also said that, given the fact of crisis, APEC should continue to promote trade and investment liberalisation and facilitation, as well as supporting structural economic reforms, and ensuring that all members of “our economies have the training and opportunities to benefit from the process of globalisation.”

The ministers also discussed APEC regional economic integration, trade and investment liberalisation and facilitation, corporate social responsibility and a number of other issues.

With regard to the current high cost of food items, the ministers agreed to review and update the APEC Food System during 2009.

The APEC ministerial meeting spoke highly of Vietnam’s proposal to hold a meeting in Hanoi in 2009 for executive managers from agencies currently engaged in coping with the urgent situation.

Established in 1989, APEC consists of Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, China’s Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, the Republic of Korea, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam.-

APEC economic leaders to push world trade

In Uncategorized on November 24, 2008 at 1:54 pm

Lima (VNA) – Leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies have issued a statement, promising to take further actions against the global financial crisis.

The statement was issued in the Peruvian capital city of Lima on November 22, the first day of the two-day APEC-16 Economic Leaders’ Meeting, under the chairmanship of Peru ’s President Alan Garcia Perez. Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet attended the session.

In the statement, the leaders said they discussed the impact of the financial crisis and the actions that APEC member economies are taking, individually and collectively, to restore confidence in their economies and maintain the region on a path of long-term growth.

The leaders admitted the risk that slower world economic growth could lead to calls for protectionist measures which would exacerbate the current economic situation. They promised to not raise new barriers to investment and trade in the next 12 months.

On the Doha Round of WTO trade talks, the APEC leaders expressed their hope for “an ambitious and balanced conclusion” to lay the foundation for the economic growth and prosperity in the region.

The leaders also reaffirmed their commitment to the Bogor Goals of free and open trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region as a “key organising principle and driving force” for APEC.

The global financial crisis would not shake their determination to address important challenges facing the region, including climate change, energy security and clean development, said the leaders.

The leaders expressed support for the Washington Declaration adopted at the G-20 summit in Washington earlier this month and common principles that will guide the Action Plan for financial markets reform.

APEC-16 supported overhauls of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB) at time when more countries need emergency bailouts to avert economic devastation.

After the first retreat session, APEC leaders had a dialogue with the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), which comprises of leading businesses in the Asian-Pacific region.-

APEC leaders vow to boost cooperation in global issues

In Uncategorized on November 24, 2008 at 1:53 pm

Hanoi (VNA) – Leaders from 21 APEC member economies ended their two-day summit meeting in Lima, Peru, on November 23, vowing to boost regional economic integration and food security, and to combat climate change and corruption.

With the theme of “A New Commitment to Asia-Pacific Development”, this year’s meeting highlighted the importance of narrowing the gap between developed and developing member economies, as well as their determination in promoting economic cooperation, financial reforms, trade and investment facilitation in a more sustainable manner.

APEC leaders’ declaration issued by the end of the meeting focuses on the global crisis, regional economic integration, structural reforms, food security, social responsibility of enterprises, fights against corruption and terrorism, climate change and disaster alliviation.

In the declaration, the leaders said the current global financial crisis “is one of the most serious economic challenges we have ever face”. They vowed to “act quickly and decisively to address the impending global economic slowdown … and take necessary economic and financial measures to resolve this crisis”.

On regional economic integration, the leaders said their goal of free and open trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region would be achieved through a series of unilateral reform measures combined with bilateral, regional and multinational liberalisation.

The document stressed the critical importance of the enhancement of APEC financial markets and welcomed capacity building activities initiated by finance ministers. APEC leaders appreciated work and efforts by APEC Business Advisory Commission (ABAC) with a view to improve business climate. They also called for more active involvement of small and medium enterprises in the working agenda on regional economic integration.

The leaders welcomed progress made by member economies towards the Bogor Goals of free and open trade and investment in the region. “We reinforced our commitment to achieving the Bogor Goals to promote growth, development and a rapid recovery from the current global slowdown,” they said.

On the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), the leaders commended the progress made in examining the prospects and options of a possible FTAAP as a long-term prospect. “We noted advice from ministers that while an FTAAP would likely be of economic benefit to the region as a whole, there would also be challenges in its creation.”

The leaders expressed concerns about the impacts that volatile global food prices, combined with food shortages in some developing economies were having on APEC member economies’ achievements in reducing poverty and lifting real incomes over the last decade.

They, therefore, agreed on accelerated technical and capacity building cooperation in order to promote agricultural development, improvement education on agriculture, natural resources and biological energies.

On the region’s anti-corruption combat, the leaders agreed to leverage their collective will to combat corruption and related transnational illicit networks by prompting clean government, supporting public-private partnerships, fostering market integrity, and transparent financial systems.

The leaders also pledged further efforts to enhance human security, combat terrorism and secure regional trade. “Terrorist acts can not be excused or justified by any alleged cause, conflict, oppression, or poverty,” it said.

Regarding climate change, the leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the Sydney APEC Leaders’ Declaration on Climate Change, Energy Security and Clean Development.

Recognising that climate change could impede economies’ abilities to achieve sustainable economic growth and reduce poverty, the leaders said they strongly supported international cooperation and capacity building for mitigation and adaptation as objectives that should be equally pursued, including those that promote low-emissions technology development and transfer to, and financial support for, developing economies.

They also called for additional and coordinated efforts to better understand vulnerabilities caused by the impact of climate change on the oceans and the resources to help develop more effective adaptation strategies.

APEC leaders expressed their full approval to the joint declaration made by regional ministers at the 20th APEC economic and foreign ministerial meeting and welcomed Singaporean Prime Minister’s invitation to the 17 APEC summit in 2009 in Singapore.-

Cambodia not to raise Preah Vihear issue at ASEAN Summit

In Uncategorized on November 24, 2008 at 1:52 pm

Hanoi (VNA) – Cambodia will not list its dispute with Thailand over the ownership of the 900-year-old Preah Vihear Temple on the agenda of the ASEAN Summit next month in Bangkok, according to sources from Phnom Penh.

The ongoing global financial crisis will top the agenda at the summit, and Cambodia will not raise the Preah Vihear issue there, said Cambodian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Hor Namhong.

Cambodia is right not to bring the matter to the ASEAN summit, as all ASEAN member countries, as well as other nations friendly to Cambodia have said that they expect Cambodia and Thailand to solve their dispute through bilateral negotiations, he said.

According to the outcome of the recent meeting between the foreign ministers of the two Southeast Asian nations, the two sides will begin measuring the border line and locating existing border posts in December, and the Joint Border Committee and both foreign ministers are to convene new meetings in January, said the Cambodian Foreign Minister.-

Asian cities agree to cooperate in disaster mitigation

In Uncategorized on November 24, 2008 at 1:52 pm

Hanoi (VNA) – Member cities of the Asian Network Major Cities 21 (ANMC21) agreed on November 21 to formulate a series of measures for flood prevention and disaster mitigation through steady efforts and innovative ideas.

Representatives from Bangkok, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Seoul, Singapore, Taipei and Tokyo said they would establish rapid information-providing and evacuation systems in case of emergencies through exchanges between the member cities in the fields of experience, information on policies, technology and personnel.

This would improve flood control measures in all member cities to make Asian cities not only safe but also comfortable to live in through adaptation to climate change, Bernama news agency reported, citing the Kuala Lumpur Declaration, passed at the 7th Plenary Meeting of ANMC 21 on November 21 in Malaysia.

In the declaration, the cities also agreed upon fully-commited and continuous support in pursuing the ANMC21 objectives of promoting greater solidarity and cooperation in sharing regional peace and prosperity through the implementation of joint projects.-

Southeast Asia succeeds in fighting piracy in Malacca Straits

In Uncategorized on November 24, 2008 at 1:51 pm

Kuala Lumpur (VNA) – Southeast Asia is winning the battle against piracy in the Malacca Straits, the Malaysia-based International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said.

The watchdog also said that any reduction in vigilance could result in a sudden surge in maritime banditry in the vital trade lane.

The strategic shipping route between Indonesia ‘s island of Sumatra and the Southeast Asian peninsula of Malaysia and Singapore was deemed the most dangerous waterway in the world, though attacks have dropped dramatically thanks to increased cooperation among the littoral states.

Experts believe that a major hijacking like the incident that took place off the coast of Somalia this week is now unlikely to occur here.

During the first nine months of this year there have been only two pirate attacks in the straits, according to the IMB, compared to 38 in 2004 and a peak of 75 in 2000.-

Cambodia’s economy to increase by 7 percent

In Uncategorized on November 24, 2008 at 1:51 pm

Phnom Penh (VNA) – Cambodia’s economic growth rate could be kept at the level of seven percent in 2008 and 2009, Prime Minister Hun Sen told an economic forum in Phnom Penh on November 22.

Overall, the Cambodian macro-economic situation in 2008 is stable, PM Hun Sen was quoted by the Cambodian News Agency (AKP) as saying at the 14th Government-Private Sector Forum.

From the beginning to the middle of the year, all branches of the economy, i.e agriculture, manufacturing and services still maintain reasonable growth as expected, he said.

From the mid-year, while the world has been suffering from the crisis due to surging in the price of oil and food and a number of countries have announced sign of economic recession, it appears that Cambodia was still able to maintain its growth, although at a slower pace, he added.

According to the PM, in the financial and banking sectors, domestic banks are running at normalcy and not cause of concerns.

More than 600 representatives from the government, private sector, embassies, and development agencies participated in the half day forum, according to AKP. –

Strong earthquake hits Indonesia’s Sumatra

In Uncategorized on November 24, 2008 at 1:50 pm

Jakarta (VNA) – A powerful earthquake measuring 6.8 on Richter scale hit waters off Sumatra Island, Indonesia, in the night of November 22, but no tsunami warning was issued and there were no initial reports of injuries or damage.

According to the US Geological Survey, the powerful earthquake hit 164 kilometres southwest of Bengkulu, a city on Sumatra island.

Indonesia was the country worst hit by the earthquake-triggered tsunami in December 2004 that killed more than 200,000 people across Asia.

The Indonesian archipelago straddles several continental plates in an area known as the Pacific Ring of Fire, where seismic and volcanic activity is recorded on an almost daily basis.-

Thai protestors march toward parliament in “final battle”

In Uncategorized on November 24, 2008 at 1:50 pm

Bangkok (VNA) – Thousands of protesters surrounded Thailand’s parliament building on November 23, vowing a “final battle” to topple the government of Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat, local media reported.

Led by the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), demonstrators began leaving Government House – the prime minister’s cabinet offices which they have occupied since late August – and marched toward the nearby parliament building in Bangkok’s historic district.

The protest was aimed at preventing lawmakers from reviewing draft charter amendment, according to Thai News Agency (TNA).

Police were ordered to stand guard outside the barricaded parliament building. Thailand’s Government Spokesman Natthawut Saikuea said unarmed police will coordinate with military personnel to prevent PAD protesters from seizing or storming Parliament and firefighting equipment were placed in important areas.

Earlier protestors declared that they had rallied more than 100,000 people in the biggest demonstration on November 24 which they called “the final push to bring down the government”.

Colonel Sansern Khaewkamnerd, an army spokesman, said over 2,000 soldiers are on standby in case the protests break into violence.

According to Government spokesman Nattawut Saikuar, Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat had called on Thai people not to join the protests and vowed that the government would not use force.

The PAD has continuously staged massive rallied in Bangkok since May 25 to bring down the government elected in December, accusing it of being a corrupt proxy of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

The situation reached the climax on August 26 when 35,000 PAD supporters besieged the National Television, broke into the Government House and surrounded at least 3 ministerial-level agencies.-