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APEC businesses call for free trade, investment
6/9/2007 10:19

The APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) yesterday called on APEC economic leaders to take measures to improve the flow of trade and investment in the region.

"We have presented a number of recommendations to the APEC leaders to ensure that the business environment in the Asia-Pacific remains robust," said Mark Johnson, chair of the ABAC 2007, at a press conference.

ABAC, which comprises three senior business representatives from each of the 21 APEC economies, has concluded a three-day meeting here as part of the APEC Leaders Week.

Johnson said that business leaders were disappointed in the inability of the APEC economic leaders to deliver an outcome on the Doha Round.

"The success of APEC highlights what benefits free trade can bring to developing economies in particular and we again urge the APEC leadership to ensure outcomes are achieved from these WTO negotiations," he said.

He said that ABAC has canvassed measures to improve the flow of trade and investment in the region, including the harmonization of standards so that businesses can export more efficiently.

ABAC pointed to the need for flexible responses from central banking agencies in the region given the recent experience in the sub-prime mortgage market of the U.S..

The council also stressed the importance of preparation by government and businesses so that economies are equipped to deal with potential pandemic threats.

The ABAC membership will participate in the APEC business leaders meeting over the next two days before engaging in a private dialog with the APEC economic leaders on Sept. 8.

"ABAC now has a unique opportunity to convey directly to the APEC leaders our views on the issues that impact on our businesses and communities," said Johnson.