The 21st APEC Ministerial Meeting ended in Singapore on Nov. 12 after issuing a joint statement that called for the building of a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP).

Foreign and Trade Ministers from 21 member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum also emphasised the need to promote the wide-spread use of green technology in a bid to cope with climate change.

Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang and Deputy for Foreign Affairs Dao Viet Trung attended the two-day meeting, which was co-chaired by Singaporean Minister for Foreign Affairs George Yeo and Minister for Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang.

At the meeting, the ministers applauded the achievements APEC has posted over the past two decades and unanimously adopted a Report on Inclusive and Sustainable Growth.

The ministers praised joint efforts to implement cooperation agreements since the 16th APEC Summit and ratified an annual report and proposals by the Committee on Trade and Investment (CTI) and a report on the Individual Action Plan (IAP).

The ministers approved the Work Plan for the 2010 Assessment of APEC Industrialised Economies’ Achievements of the Bogor Goals and measures to tighten regional economic links, including solutions to reduce business costs, facilitate investment, strengthen the protection of intellectual property rights and enhance infrastructure and services connectivity.

The participants heard a report on recent progress of the Doha negotiations which was presented by General Director of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Pascal Lamy.

The ministers were unanimous that APEC should join hands to speed up the Doha round of negotiations and combat trade protectionism. They agreed to no longer impose any protection measures until the end of 2010 and voiced support for Russia’s bid to join the WTO soon.

The ministers held that cooperation in the fields of economics, technology and human security remain important pillars of APEC, stressing that priority should be given to human resource development, concerted efforts to cope with climate change, prevention and mitigation of natural disasters, food security and health care.

The ministers lauded the selection of the first full-time managing director of APEC for the 2010-2013 term and agreed to continue implementing reform measures to step up cooperation in the years to come.

Also on Nov. 12, the 16th APEC Finance Ministers’ Meeting took place in Singapore with the participation of top leaders of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank (WB), the Asian Develop Bank (ADB) and the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). Finance Minister Vu Van Ninh headed the Vietnamese delegation to the meeting.

The APEC Finance Ministers exchanged views on prospects for the world and regional economies, and discussed fiscal stimulus and exit strategies. They held that easing monetary policy and fiscal stimulus programmes has reaped remarkable results and will play an important role in recovering the regional economy.

The ministers lauded the launch of the Framework for Strong, Sustainable and Balanced Growth at the G-20 Meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors as well as commitments to enhance coordination amongst APEC member economies in implementing economic stimulus measures.

Vietnamese delegates to the meeting shared experiences in dealing with the impact of the global economic and financial crisis.

Participants welcomed Vietnam’s proposals and pledged to work closely with the country when it takes over the ASEAN presidency in 2010./.