Ministers from 21 Asia-Pacific economies will begin meetings later Wednesday in Santiago, Chile, ahead of a summit of leaders from the region later this week.

Officials say today's meetings of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation group will help set the agenda for the leaders' summit, and are expected to feature discussions on regional trade agreements and general trade policies. The ministers also are expected to express their support for global trade talks under the auspices of the World Trade Organization.

Other themes expected to be addressed by ministers include anti-terrorism efforts, health concerns, anti-corruption and transparency issues, and maintaining the security of regional financial markets.

President Bush, Chinese President Hu Jintao and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi will be among the leaders attending the APEC summit Saturday and Sunday.