The first round of APEC meetings of 2005 began today in Seoul, Korea, in a year that will see APEC undertake a review of progress towards its free trade goals. The 2005 APEC year will also see a major effort to advance the current round of World Trade Organization negotiations as well as the launch of the new APEC Anti-Corruption Task Force.
The Executive Director of the APEC Secretariat, Ambassador Choi Seok Young, said 2005 is a pivotal year for APEC with the scheduled Mid-term Stock-take.
"2005 is the midpoint between the start of APEC in 1989 and APEC's 2020 goals," Ambassador Choi said.
"The Mid-term Stock-take will include assessments of actions by individual Member Economies to meet their Bogor Goals as well as input from business, academic and other contributors.
"Established in Bogor, Indonesia, in 1994 the Bogor Goals set the target of free trade and investment in the APEC region by 2010 for industrialized economies and 2020 for developing economies."
Ambassador Choi said APEC is also expecting to provide substantial input to help advance WTO negotiations in 2005.
"APEC has put a lot of energy into reviving WTO negotiations individually and collectively," Ambassador Choi said.
"APEC Members represent a diverse range of developing and industrialized economies that account for half of the world's trade. Our Member Economies have shared a variety of perspectives on reviving the current round of WTO negotiations and we are committed to working together to see this process lead to a successful conclusion.
"With four Senior Officials' Meetings along with several Ministerial Meetings before the Leaders' Meeting in November, APEC will continue to combine our collective energies to assist the WTO process."
Ambassador Choi said corruption also found an important place in the APEC agenda in 2005 with a planned International Symposium on Anti-Corruption followed by the first meeting of the APEC Anti-Corruption Task Force.
"APEC Leaders and Ministers have made a strong commitment to eradicating corruption in our region. Corrupt practice in the government and private sectors is nothing short of robbery from the hard working people who contribute to the development of our region. When we deal with corruption we ensure that prosperity has an opportunity to grow."
The first round of APEC 2005 events begins with a series of meetings covering APEC sectoral areas and concludes with the first 2005 Senior Officials Meeting on March 3-4.