Asia Pacific mining ministers wound up a talkfest in Perth today vowing to explore a free trade agreement between Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) members that would dwarf all other FTAs.
AAP | February 14, 2007
APEC moves towards free trade mining
By Liza Kappelle
ASIA Pacific mining ministers wound up a talkfest in Perth today vowing to explore a free trade agreement between Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) members that would dwarf all other FTAs.
Australia’s Resources Minister Ian Macfarlane told reporters after the meeting that APEC mining ministers had agreed to examine the effects free trade in minerals and metals would have on the sector.
The study will also explore practical ways to increase trade and investment opportunities among the 21 APEC members, which represent 40 per cent of the world’s economies.
"We have taken the first step to achieving a long term vision of an APEC free trade agreement," Mr Macfarlane said.
"This would dwarf every other FTA ever written."
APEC members include some of the biggest mineral producers - Australia, Canada, Peru, Chile and the US as well as some of the most voracious consumers of commodities, such as China and Japan.
Mr Macfarlane said the mining ministers’ meeting also adopted a set of non-binding principles for the industry including pursuing policies that enhanced sustainable production, trade and consumption of minerals and metals.
These agreements were the culmination of three days of talks behind closed doors by ministers and senior officials from 19 of the APEC nations.
Mr Macfarlane would not reveal details of discussions with nations or stakeholders, including non-government organisations, other than to say they were very positive.
The Perth meeting kicked off a series of APEC discussions in Australia that will culminate in a leaders’ summit in Sydney in September.
Mr Macfarlane said he expected to hear more about removing barriers to free trade among APEC members after each of these meetings.
World leaders including US President George W Bush, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Hu Jintao will head down under for the leaders’ meeting.
APEC was established in 1989 as an informal dialogue group.