His Majesty attends Apec Summit

Attending the Apec Summit in Hanoi yesterday, His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam made several observations on world issues.

His Majesty voicing his concerns on the issues of violence spoke on the threat of terrorism and nuclear proliferation around the world. His Majesty also touched on the need for a peaceful solution to the Middle East situation including Iraq.

His Majesty made the titah at a meeting between leaders of the Southeast Asian Apec countries and the US on the sidelines of the 14th Apec Economic Leaders' Meeting, RTB reported. The meeting took place at the Hanoi International Convention Centre.

On bilateral issues, His Majesty noted with satisfaction the excellent bilateral relation between the two sides in areas such as education and defence.

His Majesty also touched on areas where experts from both sides can work together such as in the area of energy, particularly in resources management and the need to look for alternative sources of energy.

At the meeting, His Majesty, other Asean leaders and US President George W Bush exchanged views on international and regional political, security and economic issues of common interest including Apec, WTO, energy security and non-traditional security challenges such as disaster management, infectious diseases, terrorism and transactional crime.

The leaders shared the view that to effectively address those issues would require active coordination and close cooperation among countries through concrete programmes and activities.

The Asean leaders welcomed the announcement that the US would provide countries in the region with practical assistance, especially in information and experience sharing in order to effectively address those challenges.

The leaders were of the view that in recent years significant developments had been recorded in the relations between the countries in the region and the US, at both bilateral and multilateral levels.

In the future, priority would be given to promoting economic and trade cooperation, creating stronger economic linkages and encouraging greater involvement of the private sector and businesses between the two sides.

His Majesty proceeded to a hotel in Hanoi to attend a meeting of the Trans-pacific Strategic Economic Partnerships P4 with the President of Chile, Prime Minister of New Zealand and Prime Minister of Singapore.

During yesterday morning's meeting, the four leaders discussed recent developments on P4 Agreement, informally known as the P4 FTA.

His Majesty and other leaders also welcomed the entry into force of the P4 FTA for all the parties and instructed officials to commence negotiations for the outstanding investment and financial services chapters of the agreement. Noting that P4 FTA was designed to have an open architecture, allowing for the accession of new members, the leaders reiterated their vision of the P4 FTA serving as a building block for trade liberalisation across the Asia Pacific region. The leaders also noted that the P4 FTA could serve as a stepping stone in the effort towards regional economic integration.

The P4 FTA was originally known as the P3 FTA when it was first launched by Chile, New Zealand and Singapore in Mexico in 2002. The agreement was renamed with Brunei's subsequent participation. The P4 is a multinational free trade agreement between the four countries.

Yesterday afternoon, His Majesty joined 20 other Asia Pacific leaders in the first retreat session of the 14th Apec Economic Leaders' Meeting (AELM).

In his titah at the summit, His Majesty noted that the forum like Apec was very important because it provided dynamism and offered confidence specially to the business community.

In this connection, His Majesty said that Brunei supported the regional and International Trading Arrangement such as the WTO, as long as there were comprehensive and supported the multilateral trading system. It was the same reason that Brunei supported the resumption of the Doha round, which offers so much potential for economies, big or small.

His Majesty said that the dynamism brought about in APEC could bring real economic benefit that would contribute to the sustainable development of the Apec economies.

The retreat took place at the National Convention Centre. Upon arrival, His Majesty was greeted by the President of Vietnam, Nguyen Minh Tiet, as the chairman of Apec 2006.

During the meeting, His Majesty and the other Apec Economic leaders discussed two major issues - boosting trade and investment, as well as factors ensuring dynamism, growth and sustainable development among the Apec members. They are aimed at strengthening coordination in action; consolidate multilateral trading system; and promote trade, investment, economic, technical and human security cooperation. They will also enhance the association between Apec and other economic forums in the region and the world.

One of the major outcomes anticipated during the two-day Apec leaders' meeting will be the Hanoi Action Plan. The plan is made up of concrete actions that include support for the multilateral trading system, the promotion of high-quality free trade agreements and capacity building. The effort to revive the Doha round of trade negotiations is also high on the agenda.

The Apec leaders will meet again this morning in the second retreat session. - Borneo Bulletin (19th Nov 2006)