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