APEC reaffirms quest for regional trade pacts

April 21, 2013 at 12:22 PM

SURABAYA, Indonesia, April 21 (UPI) -- Asia's APEC trade ministers meeting in Indonesia Sunday pledged to keep pushing free-trade agreements in the region.

The two-day Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation session in Surabaya produced a joint statement calling for "broader integration, which includes trade and investment liberalization and facilitation in the APEC region."

The statement came out a day after Japan formally joined the multi-national negotiations on an Asia-Pacific regional trade agreement. If approved, the 11-nation pact would cover about one third of all world trade, Japan's Kyodo news service said.

The APEC ministers agreed at the forum to share information on free-trade initiatives and reaffirmed their commitment to reducing tariffs to 5 percent or less by 2016.

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