This is the VOA Special English Economics Report.
The meeting of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders ended without
announcement of major policy changes among APEC members. However, the leaders
did say they were ready to make changes in their negotiating positions to help
restart world trade talks. They also said North Korea is a major concern, but
stopped short of strong condemnation.
This was the 14th official meeting of government leaders from economies in
East Asia and nations around the Pacific Ocean. The two-day meeting was held in
Vietnam, a nation recently admitted to the W.T.O. The meeting ended on November
In a final statement, the leaders expressed a strong desire to continue the
Doha series of W.T.O. talks on trade reform. The leaders said they would propose
deeper cuts in government aid to farmers. Poor nations say such aid drives down
the price of agricultural goods.
The leaders stated they would cut import taxes on industrial goods. They
offered to open their markets to more trade in agriculture and services, like
banking. APEC urged other countries to join it in offering more trade reforms.
APEC agreements do not have the force of law.
President Bush pressed the other leaders on the issue of North Korea's
nuclear program. Six-nation talks on the program have not moved forward since
last year. The North Korean nuclear test last month has not helped the
Mr. Bush urged APEC members to obey United Nations Security Council
Resolution 1718. That resolution calls for action against North Korea, and urges
it to return to the nuclear disarmament talks. All the nations involved in those
talks are APEC members, except for North Korea.
The president also proposed a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific as a
long-term goal for the group. Mr. Bush won a trade agreement with Central
American and Caribbean nations last year.
The APEC leaders' meeting was one of several meetings held in Hanoi. Earlier,
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice led the American team to the 18th APEC Joint
Ministerial Meeting. Ministers agreed to push forward with trade reforms known
as the Bogor Goals to be completed in five to ten years. They also agreed to
cooperate in areas such as security and health.
And that's the VOA Special English Economics Report. I'm Mario Ritter.