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PIA Press Release

PGMA to bat for early resumption of Doha talks at APEC leaders meeting in Peru

Manila (20 November) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will renew her call for the early resumption of the Doha Development Round of the World Trade Organization (WTO) when she attends the 16th Leaders Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Forum (APEC) on Nov. 22-23 in Lima, Peru.

This was revealed by Trade Secretary Peter Favila, one of the five-member presidential party attending the APEC forum. The four others are Press Secretary Jesus Dureza, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo, and two other Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) officials.

The President leaves for Peru Thursday, Nov. 20.

Favila recalled that the President had also batted for the resumption of the Doha Round during the Asia-Pacific Economic Meeting (ASEM) in Beijing last month.

"We are now finalizing our respective positions on several issues that are in the agenda of the APEC, foremost of which is the President's own announcement at the ASEM in Beijing that she wants to see the early resumption of the Doha Talks," said Favila.

"We received reports that the gaps that had existed among major economies (about WTO Doha Round provisions) now seem to be narrowing, and probably in response to the call by various leaders that we need to focus our energies and efforts in bringing a conclusion to the (economic provisions of the) WTO," he added.

The WTO's Doha Development Round was concluded in Doha, Qatar in Nov. 2001, with the Doha Declaration providing the mandate "for negotiations on a range of subjects and other work (including) those on agriculture and services, which began in early 2000."

"In Doha, Ministers also approved a linked decision on implementation - problems developing countries face in implementing the current WTO agreements," according to the WTO's website.

Favila discussed the President's APEC trip during the weekly press briefing of Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita this afternoon in Malacanang.

For his part, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said the President will be staying in Peru for one and a half days, and then might proceed to Colombia for a one-day visit.

"The President is going there (Peru) to attend the APEC... They will discuss matters affecting the region - the financial crisis, human security initiatives, food and energy security, and climate change," Ermita said.

He said the Peru "meeting will be a follow-up of what happened in Australia -- definitely, the economic status and financial crisis, as it affects the Asia-Pacific (region), will be discussed."

The last APEC meeting was held on Sept. 8-9 in Sydney, Australia.

"She will stay there (Peru) for one-and-a-half days or two days," he added.

The Executive Secretary also said that contrary to "initial rumors" that 40 congressmen were joining the President's trip to the APEC, "mukhang walo na lang yata eh." (PIA-MMIO) [top]

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