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Meeting hailed as platform for international co-operaton

Express staff

The Fifth Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Economic Ministers' Meeting (EMM), which closed in Dalian on July 24, serves as a unique platform for participating countries to explore solutions to global economic problems, said participating ministers.
Vice-Premier Wu Yi said at the ministerial meeting that she is confident China's gross domestic product will grow 7 per cent this year despite the negative effects of the recent SARS outbreak on tourism, restaurants, hotels and transportation.
She hailed the Asia-Europe Meeting as an important bridge between the two continents and urged member economies to give strong support to multilateral trading system.
The Chinese Government will continue to push forward reform and opening-up and faithfully implement its commitments to the WTO, she said.
The next decades will see China's rapid economic growth with GDP expected to quadruple to US$4 trillion.
"The Fifth EMM has sent strong positive signals to push forward the new round of negotiations of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to be held in Cancun, Mexico in September,'' said Lu Fuyuan, Chinese minister of commerce.
Lu also said the meeting has significantly promoted co-operation and dialogue between Asia and Europe in a variety of fields.
European Union (EU) Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy said the Fifth EMM looked like a WTO conference in miniature, combining developing and developed countries and two regions. Lamy said the meeting would not only help promote Asian-European discussions but advance the dialogue among the Asian countries.
Taiichiro Nishikawa, Japanese Senior Vice-Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, said that ASEM would play a significant role in promoting trade and investment between the two continents.
Around 250 delegates from China, 15 EU member states, Japan, South Korea and seven of the 10-member ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) nations, attended the meeting.
The participating ministers discussed six topics during the meeting: Global economic growth, the new round of WTO free trade talks, facilitation of trade, promotion of investment, direction of development of Asian and European economies and closer partnership between the two continents.
A chair's statement, listing the outcomes of the fifth EMM, was published after the meeting.
The statement said that the adverse impact on the medium and long-term economic development of the affected regions could be minimized if good measures and actions could be implemented in the areas of public health, trade, tourism and movement of goods and business people.
"Bilateral or regional initiatives should not be favoured over multilateralism, as well as the need to ensure that all agreements are compatible with WTO rules,'' said the statement.
The statement said participating ministers expressed concerns and worries on the slow advance of the ongoing WTO negotiations, and urged more effort and co-operation to ensure the timely conclusion of the negotiations.
"Both Asian and European countries reiterated their strong commitments to a strong, open, transparent and fair multilateral trading system under the WTO and highlighted the importance of the successful conclusion of an ambitious round to revitalize the world economy through further trade liberalization and strengthening of the rules-based multilateral trading system,'' said the statement.
The statement urged the acceleration of the current WTO accession negotiation of Viet Nam, based on a mutually acceptable market access commitments and adherence to WTO rules.
With regard to the issue of the enlargement process of the EU, the statement said the EU pledged to continue to be an open trading partner, with an expanded single market of 450 million people sharing the same tariffs and trade rules from the date of the new members' accession.
In addition, the statement said the Sixth ASEM EMM will be held in Rotterdam, Netherlands from 16-17 September 2004, and the outcomes of the Fifth EMM will be reported to the Fifth ASEM to be held in Hanoi, Viet Nam in 2004.

Fair to highlight seminars

Express staff

The annual China International Fair for Investment and Trade (CIFIT) will highlight a series of high-level seminars and forums on its seventh session, to be held on September 8 to 11, in the port city of Xiamen in Southeast China's Fujian province.
The 30-odd seminars and forum cover such topics as investment strategy, international co-operation, enterprises merger, trade and investment barrier, new and high technology application and logistics.
"The CIFIT International Investment Forum, sponsored by the Ministry of Commerce, is an important platform for investors around the globe to share the latest investment information,'' said Xiamen Vice Mayor Huang Ling at a press conference held in the capital city of Fuzhou.
Distinguished officials and businessmen, including Minister of Commerce Lu Fuyuan, CEO of Ericsson or Volkswagen and officials from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, will deliver speeches at the forum.
"As an acknowledgement of CIFIT's influence among international investors, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development will release the 2003 World Investment Report for the first time in Xiamen on September 8,'' said Huang.
Being a part of the series seminars, eight symposiums on overseas investment environment and policies will also be held to help domestic investors seek golden opportunities in the overseas market.
The eight symposiums expect to attract 1,900 participants from the Ministry of Commerce, the World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies and governmental departments from the United States, France, Mexico and South Africa.
Such topics as investment in the Caribbean countries and ASEAN member countries, marketing explanation in Turkey and the newly signed Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) between Hong Kong and the mainland will be discussed.
China's only State-level investment promotion fair, CIFIT is alluring more global attention. In the sixth session alone, participants from 96 counties and regions attended the fair.
Contracts worth US$63.1 billion were signed and foreign trade transactions worth US$5.1 billion fulfilled in the first six sessions.

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