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FS attends APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting (with photo/video)

     The Financial Secretary, Mr John C Tsang, on behalf of the Chief Executive, today (September 9) attended the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting which endorsed a joint declaration covering a wide range topics, including -

* endorsing the APEC Model Chapter on Transparency for Regional Trade Agreements (RTA) / Free Trade Agreemnts (FTA) to be used as a guide by APEC economies to enhance transparency which is centre to trade liberalisation and facilitation;

* endorsing the APEC List of Environmental Goods that directly and positively contribute to the green growth and sustainable development by reducing the applied tariff rates to five per cent or less on these environmental goods by the end of 2015;

* ensuring fair and open markets of food, reducing food price volatility, and establishing greater regional and global food security and confirming the commitment to develop food markets infrastructure, reduce post-harvest losses along the entire food supply chain;

* targeting to achieving an APEC-wide target of a ten percent improvement in supply-chain performance by 2015, in terms of reduction of time, cost, and uncertainty of moving goods and services through the Asia-Pacific region; and

* building competitive, open and transparent business environments, assisting small, medium and micro-sized enterprises' (SMMEs) internationalisation, strengthening their access to markets and financing, and promoting innovation as a key competitive advantage for SMMEs.

     Supporting the initiatives in the declaration, Mr Tsang said that Hong Kong China strongly believed that the rules-based multilateral trading system was still the best way to pursue liberalisation of trade and investment. "Regional Trade Agreements that are of high standard and consistent with World Trade Organization disciplines and provisions can play a useful role as building blocks for the multilateral system."

     Practically all food consumed in Hong Kong is imported. Hong Kong needs to rely on market mechanism to maintain a stable food supply. The APEC food security initiatives will help stabilised food supply and food price.

     With economies getting more integrated and closer together, products are no longer made in one location. "Disruptions to regional supply chains due to natural disasters in recent years, such as the tsunami in Japan and the flooding in Bangkok, reinforce the need for more integrated and more reliable supply chain for trade," said Mr Tsang.

     Sharing Hong Kong's experience in creating an innovative and SME-friendly atmosphere, Mr Tsang quoted the Innovation and Technology Fund, as an example, which provided funding support to applied research and development and technology transfer activities. As of July 2012, some 3 000 projects involving a total funding of some US $1 billion had been approved.

     After endorsing the declaration, APEC Economic Leaders took a group photograph. This was followed by a working lunch at which the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Ms Christine Lagarde, discussed with APEC Leaders on the latest global economic situation.

     Mr Tsang will meet with the Primorsky Territory Governor, Mr Vladimir Miklushevskiy, in Vladivostok tomorrow (September 10) before leaving Russia. He will return to Hong Kong on Tuesday (September 11).

Ends/Sunday, September 9, 2012
Issued at HKT 19:14


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