Trade ministers from 21 member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) fail to reach agreement on the issue of a multilateral trading system. (Photo: apec.org)

Hanoi (VNA) – Trade ministers from 21 member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum concluded talks on May 26 in Papua New Guinea without reaching agreement on the issue of a multilateral trading system.

After the two-day gathering, the ministers released a joint statement covering discussion areas including promoting the digital economy and deepening regional economic integration.

However, the ministers struggled to agree on the issue of a multilateral trading system.

Papua New Guinea Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Rimbink Pato, who is also Chairman of the conference, issued a separate statement reflecting his assessment of the prevailing views of APEC economies.

Accordingly, the APEC trade ministers stressed that trade liberalisation and facilitation are essential for achieving sustainable global growth. They committed to continuing APEC’s leadership to promote free and open markets while fighting against protectionism.

The statements will be submitted to APEC leaders for their consideration ahead of their summit in November in Port Moresby capital, Papua New Guinea.

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 United States and Vietnam.-VNA