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APEC Leaders Open Two Day Summit in Vietnam

  • VOA News

Leaders and ministers from 21 Pacific Rim nations have called for a resumption of world trade talks aimed at breaking down barriers to commerce and the free flow of goods.

Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet welcomed President Bush and other leaders Saturday for the start of the two-day Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Hanoi.

The main goal of the meeting is to reach a consensus on resolving a deadlock on global trade liberalization. APEC leaders issued a statement vowing to revive the so-called Doha round of trade talks that broke down in July largely over agricultural subsidies.

The APEC leaders promised to make deeper cuts in trade-distorting agricultural subsidies, to help widen market access for farm goods, and to make real cuts in industrial tariffs.

This year's summit has been dominated by concerns about North Korea's nuclear weapons program. The United States and its partners are holding meetings ahead of the expected resumption of six-party talks with Pyongyang in December. The nations involved in those talks are the United States, China, Russia, Japan and the two Koreas.

Vietnam has built a new, 260 million-dollar convention center to help showcase the communist nation's economic boom. It is East Asia's fastest growing economy after China, and is set to enter the World Trade Organization by the end of this year.

In remarks Saturday, President Triet called for closer cooperation among Asia-Pacific economies. He said to ensure sustainable development, the region needs to further liberalize investment and trade, and to promote a trading system that is fair and beneficial to everyone.

In a separate hall of the massive convention center, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told business leaders Washington is doing its part to bring down obstacles to trade.

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