Appeal for help on Apec agenda
By DUNCAN HUGHES
DIRECTOR-GENERAL of Trade Tony Miller has called on the business community to help devise the agenda of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (Apec) forum.
Mr Miller, speaking at a lunch meeting of the Lions Club of South Kowloon, said Hong Kong traders could provide an insight into the reforms needed to facilitate improved links with member states.
'It will mean business getting more involved in telling Apec what it has to do.
'No doubt, each of us will have a slightly different priority and slightly different timetables. Nevertheless, we will do our best to concert these in order to achieve the greatest possible impact,' Mr Miller said.
'It is relatively easy for government to identify restraints in its own economy. It is rather less easy to pin down priorities for what needs doing elsewhere.
'We cannot do this without your help.' Mr Miller said Apec's goal was to achieve 'completely free trade in all goods and services'.
'So tariffs will be either eliminated immediately if they are already low, or brought down in stages.' He said member states would have to tackle ways of liberalising trade in services.
'The Action Agenda highlights work already in hand in Apec in four service areas: telecommunications, transportation, tourism and energy. The need for urgent action to unblock bottlenecks in these areas has been recognised, as has the need to give the market freer rein.
Creating common standards for products also was one of Apec's key targets.