THE Pacific Business Forum (PBF) recommendations of a free trade zone by 2010 was not meant to tell governments what to do but to let them know the impediments businesses face in the region. PBF co-chairman Les McCraw said the report was meant to give suggestions on what was needed to make countries attractive to investors. 'The PBF agreed that it was not within the province of the business community of the PBF, to tell our leaders how this goal might be achieved. That is for governments to decide,' he said. He said that the PBF was an ad hoc advisory body established by the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) leaders in Seattle last year. 'The PBF members saw this is an historic and unique opportunity to provide our leaders with the business community's own independent views on what is needed to continue the dynamic growth experienced in the region over the last decade,' he said. Reports from both the PBF and the Eminent Persons Group had been well received by ministers, he said. Regardless of the outcome in Bogor today, the business community felt that its voice had been heard by virtue of being asked to participate submitting a report the APEC leaders, he said. The PBF recommendation was for free trade and investment liberalisation by the year 2002 for developed countries and no later than 2010 for all APEC economies. 'For business, this timing seems realistic,' he said. 'It is a time frame we might use when developing a long-term business plan. If our time dates still seem out of reach, let them at a minimum symbolise for you the sense of urgency within the business community,' he said. He said that for the business community, achieving free trade and investment liberalisation could not come too soon. All APEC economies were competing with countries outside of the region for investment dollars, he said. 'At the end of the day, these dollars will flow to where barriers and red tape are minimal and where every investor operates under the same set of rules,' he said. He said that trade and investment liberalisation alone was not enough and that many initiatives could be undertaken to facilitate business in the region. 'Many regulatory and administrative system drive up the cost of doing business,' he said. 'As a result, business resources are diverted not to business expansion and thus job creation but to dealing with systemic inefficiencies.