Sultan to attend Leaders' summit
By Sonia K in Sydney

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam is expected to arrive in Sydney today for the Apec Economic Leaders Meeting (AELM) this weekend.

Other leaders from Chile, Canada, Vietnam, S Korea, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Singapore and Papua New Guinea are also expected to arrive today.

The Apec Summit will culminate with the AELM where leaders from 21 Apec economies will meet in an informal, relaxed setting while addressing issues of strategic importance that affect the region. At the conclusion of discussions, the leaders will issue the Apec Economic Leaders Declaration, which will set the strategic directions for Apec for the next year.

The AELM will include ABAC Dialogue with leaders, a unique opportunity to energise Apec's work with idea from the business community on Sept 8.

The leaders will also hold retreat meetings during the two days.

Meanwhile, yesterday marked the start of the Apec Ministerial Meeting (AMM).

Leading the Brunei delegation at the AMM is the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade II Pehin Dato Lim Jock Seng.

The ministers attended the first Ministerial Retreat yesterday morning at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre. During the two-day meeting, the ministers will discuss issues under the year's theme 'Strengthening our community, building a sustainable future'; review key outcomes of 2007; and agree upon priorities for the future work programme.

A joint statement will be issued today, which will be endorsed by the leaders at their meeting later this week.

Pehin Lim Jock Seng together with other ministers attended the Apec Ministerial Dinner last night at the Sydney Opera House. Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Dato Paduka Lim Jock Hoi also attended the dinner.

Today, the Apec ministers will meet in a plenary session.

At the Sydney Opera House, the first and second session of the Apec Business Summit will also get under way today. The first session, which will be moderated by Dato Paduka Timothy Ong, Chairman of the Brunei Economic Development Board, carries the theme 'Full steam ahead? Can the Asia-Pacific meet challenges ahead and seize the opportunities?'.

It will be panelled by a list of experts in the region namely Ms Wang Lili, Senior Executive Vice President, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China; Mr Ricardo Lagos, President of the Foundacion Democracia Dessarrollo; Mr George Yong-Boon Yeo, Minister of Foreign Affairs in Singapore; Dr Han Sung-Joo, President of Korea University; and Ms Margaret Jackson, Chairman of Quantas Airways Limited.

The second session carries the theme 'Does Doha matter? Do preferential trade agreements offer a genuine way forward for further liberalisation?'

This will me moderated by Mr Guy de Jonquieres, former Financial Times World Trade Editor and Asia columnist and commentator and panelled by Mr Pascal Lamy, Director-General of the World Trade Organisation; Mr Hermino Blanco Mendoza, President and Chief Executive Officer of Soluciones Estrategicas Consltoria; Mr Warren Truss, Minister of Trade for Australia; and Dr Pangestu, Trade Minister of Indonesia.

The opening of the Apec Business Summit will be welcomed by Prime Minister of Australia John Howard and Chairman Mark Johnson. - Borneo Bulletin (6th September 2007)