Let's tackle current trade issues first

ASIA-PACIFIC economic leaders agreed that in-depth studies should be undertaken before a free trade area in the Asia-Pacific region (FTAAP) is formed, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said in Lima on Sunday.

He said Malaysia had, in principle, agreed to an Asia-Pacific economic integration agenda but wanted Apec to first pursue its existing initiatives,including narrowing the wealth and development gaps between its member economies.

“We have to take into account progress of the Bogor agreement first which aims to liberalise trade and investment within Apec by 2010 for the developed member economies and by 2020 for the developing member countries.”

Najib said that Asean member countries were also afraid that formation of an Asia-Pacific free trade area may dilute a regional economic integration initiated by the Southeast Asian grouping itself.

Source: New Straits Times

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