The scene of the meeting (Source: andina.com.pe)
Hanoi (VNA) – Trade ministers from 21 member economies of t he Asia – Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum gathered together at a meeting in Arequipa, Peru on May 17 to discuss the preparations for the formation of a free trade area in the region.

Peru’s Minister of Commerce Magali Silva – the chair of the 22nd APEC trade ministers' meeting, said he hopes many important areas of consensus will be reached at the two-day event.

Ministers focused their discussion on the progress of studying the possibility to set up the Free Trade Area of Asia Pacific (FTAAP) in their first day of sitting.

They also considered specific steps to support the region’s small enterprises in accessing foreign markets.

A joint statement is expected to be issued at the event.

Established in 1989, APEC groups Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong (China), Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan (China), Thailand, the US and Vietnam.

APEC, which accounts for around 60 percent of global economic output , is striving to reach greater trade agreements in the region after 12 of the member nations of APEC also approved the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement last year.-VNA