Trade ministers from 21 APEC member economies have pledged to deepen consultations and forge ahead with the pursuit of APEC's central mission of promoting free and open trade and investment.

The ministers of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum’s economies made the commitment, following their two-day meeting held in the US state of Montana on May 20 (local time).

"In 2011, APEC has the opportunity to take significant strides towards realising the Yokohama Vision, in pursuit of APEC's central mission of promoting free and open trade and investment," the ministers said in a statement in the wake of the meeting.

"Together we should build towards a seamless regional economy that results in economic growth, employment, and prosperity across the Asia-Pacific region."

Speaking at a press conference at the end of the meeting, US Trade Representative Ron Kirk said the ministers emphasised the need to seek out a new approach to the Doha round of trade liberalisation talks among 153 member nations of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

The ministers also promised to study all solutions as WTO once again failed to reach consensus on the agreement this year, Kirk added.

At the meeting, the participants discussed an array of measures to accelerate regional economic integration, promote the use of green technology and advance regulatory convergence and cooperation.

They also debated ways of cooperation in dealing with economic aftermath caused by natural disasters in the Pacific belt region.

The Montana meeting was seen as part of the run-up to the APEC Summit scheduled to take place in Hawaii , the US , in November.

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