THE Director-General of Trade, Tony Miller, is upbeat about the prospects for next month's Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) conference in Osaka. Mr Miller, speaking at a meeting of the Belgium-Hong Kong Society in Brussels, said the 'Action Agenda' - the policy targets - went beyond traditional areas of tariff cuts and market liberalisation. He said: 'We have gone about the task of setting specific targets and guidelines for both individual and collective action across the whole range of trade and economic activity and the associated rules, procedures and policies. 'Thus the agenda will say what we plan to do in such areas as investment, competition policy, rules of origin, customs procedures, standards and conformance, intellectual property rights and so on.' Mr Miller dismissed suggestions that the sweeping agenda had set unrealistic goals for the APEC member countries. 'It is not for bureaucrats to be less ambitious than their masters,' he said. He said the leaders were committed to introducing a policy of open regionalism. 'We are committed to non-discrimination. We are committed to consistency with GATT-WTO rules. We are intent on leading the process of liberalisation by example, not by establishing another trade bloc or free trade area.' Mr Miller said the Action Agenda was 90 per cent complete and he was confident that it could be ready for the Osaka meeting. He said many APEC members had taken significant steps towards liberalising their trade regimes. 'Our approach builds on this in a freely competitive spirit and envisages individual member economies setting out what they propose to liberalise and when, in their own extended action plans. These individual plans will then be 'concerted' wherever possible through a process of consultation and review.' Meanwhile, a Government spokesman yesterday dismissed reports that the US Department of Commerce was considering grouping Hong Kong and China trade together after 1997. The spokesman said: 'Such a move would be contrary to the provisions of the US-Hong Kong Policy Act that stipulates the US should seek to maintain and expand economic and trade relations with Hong Kong and should continue to treat Hong Kong as a separate territory in economic and trade matters'. He said Hong Kong would stay a separate economic entity under the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the Basic Law post-1997. 'Hong Kong will continue to be a separate member of the World Trade Organisation, with its own separate rights and obligations. 'It is therefore inconceivable that the US Government would not be maintaining a separate set of trade statistics in respect of Hong Kong after 1997,' he said.