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APEC Ministers Push to Revive Stalled Global Trade Talks

Foreign and trade ministers from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation members are pushing for ways to revive stalled global trade talks. In a meeting ahead of the annual APEC summit, top trade officials and diplomats also will discuss climate change, global financial markets and security. VOA's Nancy-Amelia Collins reports from Sydney where APEC officials are gathered.

Trade in all forms will dominate talks by the trade and finance ministers at Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

As the two-day meeting began in Sydney on Wednesday, outlined the agenda.

"We'll cover the multilateral trading system and contributions APEC can make to the successful conclusion of the WTO [World Trade Organization] Doha round. We'll also be looking at ways and means of promoting further regional economic integration, structural reform and behind the border issues which impact on the costs and risks of competitiveness of doing business in our region and the sorts of things that inhibit our genuine market integration," said Truss.

Truss plans to talk to other officials about reviving the World Trade Organization talks, which have been stalled by differences over agricultural trade barriers and barriers on imports of manufactured goods.

He also says the delegates at the ministerial meeting will discuss the potential for a free trade zone for the 21 economies that make up APEC. The idea, which has been discussed for several years, has been slow to progress.

One of the main topics of this year's APEC meeting is how to deal with global warming, without reducing growth and development.

After their summit ends on Sunday, the leaders of the APEC members are expected to issue a joint statement calling for members to reduce carbon emissions, which are thought to contribute to climate change.

The ministerial meeting will prepare that statement, and statements on other key issues, such as clean development.

"I think it's important that over the next few days we provide clear advice to our leaders on these key issues, that we develop an appropriate response to the matters of concern," added Truss. "It's also proposed to brief colleagues on preparations for the leaders meeting including some of the issues that will be on their agenda like climate change, energy security, clean development."

The trade minister says the gathered ministers also will discuss such issues as security, terrorism and recent financial market instability.