14th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting
(Overview and Evaluation)

November 19, 2006

I. Overview of the Meeting

The 14th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting was held on November 18 and 19 in Ha Noi, Viet Nam. The Meeting was chaired by President Nguyen Minh Triet of Viet Nam, and participated in by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, President George W. Bush of the U.S., President Hu Jintao of China, President Vladimir V. Putin of the Russian Federation, and other leaders of the APEC economies.

On November 18, a "Statement on the Doha Development Agenda of the WTO" was adopted, and on November 19, "14th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting Ha Noi Declaration (PDF)." An oral "Statement on DPRK's Nuclear Testing" was released. The gist of the discussions is as follows:

1. Economic Issues (afternoon of November 18)

  • (1) Many leaders pointed out that strengthening the multilateral trading system is a top priority and that political leadership is indispensable for resuming WTO/DDA negotiations. Sharing the recognition that APEC should issue a strong message toward all Members including countries outside the region, they adopted the 14th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting Statement on the DDA of the WTO.

    Prime Minister Abe stated that it was necessary for APEC to urge countries including those inclined to protectionism to conclude DDA negotiations successfully. Refering to Japan, which is open on the two pillars of innovation and openness, Prime Minister Abe stated that Japan would promote an "Asian Gateway Vision."
  • (2) As to a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific, the APEC leaders decided to undertake further studies on ways and means to promote regional economic integration as a long-term prospect, and report to the 2007 APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting.

    Prime Minister Abe stated that since the Asia-Pacific region accounts for about 60% of the world trade, it is significant for APEC to study a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific as one of the multilayered efforts in the region while paying attention to its relations with the present WTO system and negotiations, and that Japan is ready to proactively take part in discussions.
  • (3) The Hanoi Action Plan (PDF), which brings the future process toward the Bogor Goals into shape, was highly evaluated and adopted.

2. Human Security and others (morning of November 19)

  • (1) Counter-terrorism, Measures against Infectious Diseases, Energy Security
    • (a) The Leaders reconfirmed security issues such as counter-terrorism and measures against infectious diseases as APEC's issues and they welcomed APEC's initiative and activities in these fields. Some Leaders pointed out that in addition to counter-terrorism, it was important to eliminate hotbeds of terrorism such as lack of education or poverty.
      Prime Minister Abe stated that Japan would tackle the prevention and eradication of terrorism and global organized crime, pointing out that the issues of counter-terrorism and infectious diseases should be tackled from the viewpoint of human security.
    • (b) Prime Minister Abe stated that the missile launches and the nuclear test conducted by North Korea posed a great threat to the peace and security not only of Japan but also of East Asia and beyond and that Japan would not tolerate these acts by any means. He also made clear that although Japan welcomed the possible resumption of the Six-Party Talks, it was important to continue to urge North Korea to implement the Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks and the UNSC Resolution 1718. Prime Minister Abe emphasized that North Korea had not been dealing with the abduction issue sincerely and that it was important to solve the abduction issue as soon as possible through international coordination. To this appeal, several Leaders including President Bush expressed support.
      In his concluding remarks, President Triet, who chaired the meeting, remarked that he shared the recognition on the abduction issue brought up by Prime Minister Abe, and he released an oral statement concerning the issue of nuclear testing by North Korea at the press conference.
  • (2) A number of Leaders pointed out the importance of energy problems, and they expressed opinions on such matters as alternative energy, new energy, energy-saving, and the necessity of clean energy R&D.

    Energy security, said Prime Minister Abe, is an important issue, and Japan, which does not have energy sources, possesses world's leading technology in such fields as energy efficiency and conservation of the environment, and it is ready to actively cooperate with other countries and regions in these areas.
  • (3) On APEC reform, the Leaders agreed to improve its efficiency and continuity.

3. Dialogue with the ABAC (afternoon of November 18)

A dialogue between APEC Leaders and the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) members from respective economies was held in five groups in Q&A style. Prime Minister Abe briefed on the free trade system, energy security, measures for small and medium enterprises in the form of answers to the questions.

(Taking the opportunity of the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting, Prime Minister Abe had bilateral summit meetings with the Leaders of Chile, Singapore, China, Australia, U.S., Korea and Russia.)

II. Evaluation of the Meeting

  1. Up to now, the APEC has been supporting the WTO/DDA negotiations and at this Leaders' Meeting, the issuing of a stand-alone statement on the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) of the WTO, giving political impulse to the stalled WTO/DDA negotiations, was a good result. The statement says that the APEC economies are ready to break the current deadlock and calls for the necessity of showing readiness and decisiveness to the partners in other regions.
  2. The APEC will undertake further studies on ways and means to promote regional economic integration, including a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific as a long-term prospect. APEC made an important contribution to discussions about the major direction of the economic integration in this region at a time when many FTAs (Free Trade Agreements)/RTAs (Regional Trade Agreements) were formulated.
  3. The Ha Noi Action Plan was adopted and specific actions for the accomplishment of the Bogor Goal were identified. In this connection, the importance of behind-the-border measures such as structural reform, protection of intellectual property rights and transparency, which Japan highly values, was confirmed.
  4. The Leaders reconfirmed the issues of counter-terrorism, which were included in the Joint Statement, agreed by Ministers at the 18th APEC Ministerial Meeting, and they made sure that these issues would continue to be on one of the central agenda of the AEPC meeting.
  5. For the North Korea issue, the Chair expressed strong concern over the missile launches and the nuclear test conducted by North Korea, and APEC issued a united message from the international community by releasing chairman's oral statement that stressed the need for full implementation of the Security Council Resolution and the Six-Party Talks Joint Statement.

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