Australia's ongoing support and assistance for developing economies in the fight against regional terrorism is a key issue to be discussed when the APEC Secretariat's Executive Director visits Australia from 1 to 7 May.
Ambassador Piamsak Milintachinda said he expects his visit will also provide an opportunity to discuss key aspects of APEC's Counter Terrorism Action Plan and other measures designed to ensure secure trade in the Asia Pacific.
"APEC appreciates Australia's contribution of technical assistance that increases the capacity for developing economies to defend against the terrorist threat," Ambassador Milintachinda said.
"Australian support for counter terrorism initiatives in developing economies helps to protect trade, business and people from terrorist acts. This keeps people safer and protects jobs in the region.
"The contribution made by Australia as a strong supporter of APEC's counter terrorism efforts helps to enable the implementation of measures such as the Container Security Initiative to protect cargos at sea, and the new IMO International Ship and Port Facility Security Code.
"Other programs that have been facilitated with Australia's support include the Advanced Passenger Processing system, the provision of electronic quarantine and sanitary certificates and the development of Computer Emergency Response Teams.
"Without such assistance, many APEC economies would face difficulties in meeting the new international standards for the secure transport of goods and people."
Following an address to the Lloyd's List DCN Port and Maritime Security Conference in Sydney this Friday, Ambassador Milintachinda will hold high-level discussions with Australian officials in Canberra on 5 and 6 May.
The Canberra meetings are expected to focus on ongoing regional counter-terrorism issues and preparations for the meeting of APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade taking place in Thailand in June.
"Since the September 11 and Bali terrorist attacks, and many other terrorist incidents in APEC economies, the close relationship between counter terrorism and trade has become more apparent.
"As a consequence APEC has become increasingly involved with counter terrorism issues.
"Terrorism causes not only direct damage to people and infrastructure, but can also increase the costs of doing business as security measures are stepped-up.
"APEC's aim is to ensure that increased security is implemented in a way that also uses modern technology to increase efficiency in processing cargo, services and passengers at border crossings.
"As security procedures become more stringent, the use of new technologies and procedures means that the overall efficiency of cross-border movements is increased.
"APEC's strategy to counter terrorism while improving trade also includes APEC's Counter Terrorism Action Plan that was endorsed by all APEC economies in February. This plan contains measures to secure cargoes in the air and sea, protect people in transit, secure energy supplies, and halt the financing of terrorism."
Ambassador Milintachinda said that with the meeting of APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade taking place in Khon Kaen, Thailand, on June 2 and 3, which will be preceded by a meeting of APEC Senior Officials, he will provide an update to Australian officials on the agenda and other preparations for the meeting.
"The APEC Minister's Responsible for Trade Meeting in June will give APEC an opportunity to send a strong message in support of the WTO negotiations in Geneva and other trade related issues," said Ambassador Milintachinda.
"One important issue on the agenda is the progress of measures designed to increase free trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region through initiatives such as the Trade Facilitation Action Plan.
"The APEC Trade Facilitation Action Plan that is designed to reduce transaction costs by five percent and deliver annual savings of more than A$550 billion annually to regional business.
"This reduction in transaction costs will not only cut the cost of business, but will stimulate jobs growth and provide greater consumer choice."
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