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2003 Leaders' Declaration

Bangkok, Thailand | 21 October 2003

We gathered in Bangkok for the 11th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting to combine our perse strengths to meet the challenges facing our region. In line with APEC’s theme for this year, "A World of Differences: Partnership for the Future," and its sub-themes, following our interactive and meaningful exchange of views, we agreed that strong partnership is vital in order to achieve the goals we set out in Bogor. To realize our vision amidst the rapidly changing international environment, we agreed to strengthen our partnership not only to liberalize and facilitate regional trade and investment, but also to protect our peoples and societies against threats to their security, while preparing them to benefit fully from free and open trade. By taking these steps, we can realize the APEC vision, established by Leaders in 1993, of "achieving stability, security and prosperity for our peoples."

1. Promoting Trade and Investment Liberalization

We reaffirmed the primacy of the multilateral trading system, and agreed that the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) offers the potential for real gains for all economies, particularly developing economies, in the areas of agricultural reform, improved market access for goods and services, and clarification and improvement of trade disciplines. We lent our strong support for continuing the valuable work done at the Cancun Ministerial Conference to advance the DDA. We agreed that for global free trade to flourish, regional and bilateral free trade agreements must be consistent with WTO principles, advance WTO objectives and contribute to the Bogor Goals.

To advance the DDA and the Bogor Goals of free and open trade and investment, as well as their supporting conditions, we agreed to:

  • Press for an ambitious and balanced outcome to the DDA, reiterating that the development dimension is at its core.
  • Re-energize the negotiation process, building on Chairman Derbez’s text of 13 September 2003, recognizing that flexibility and political will are urgently needed to move the negotiations toward a successful conclusion.
  • Work towards the abolition of all forms of agricultural export subsidies, unjustifiable export prohibitions and restrictions, and commit ourselves to work in the negotiating group on rules in accordance with the Doha mandate.
  • Advance free trade in a coordinated manner among multilateral, regional and bilateral frameworks so that they are complementary and mutually reinforcing.
  • Extend our continued support for the early accession of the Russian Federation and Viet Nam to the WTO.
  • Continue APEC’s work on WTO capacity and confidence building in areas where APEC can best add value, while reviewing past performance to improve its effectiveness.
  • Instruct Ministers to take concrete steps to make APEC's trade agenda more supportive of the work of the WTO and report on their progress in 2004.
  • Work with the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) and the business community to continue to implement the Shanghai Accord and Los Cabos directives to facilitate business activity in the APEC region, including the reduction of transaction costs 5% by the year 2006.
  • Advance all pathfinder initiatives, including the APEC Sectoral Food MRA and Digital Economy Statement to, e.g., stop optical disk piracy and allow technology choice for business.
  • Fight corruption, a major obstacle to social and economic development, by working in 2004 to develop specific domestic actions to combat it. Promote transparency by implementing our general and area-specific transparency standards through our Transparency by 2005 Strategy.

2. Enhancing Human Security

We agreed that transnational terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction pose direct and profound challenges to APEC’s vision of free, open and prosperous economies. We agreed to dedicate APEC not only to advancing the prosperity of our economies, but also to the complementary mission of ensuring the security of our people.

We therefore committed at Bangkok to take all essential actions to:

  • Dismantle, fully and without delay, transnational terrorist groups that threaten the APEC economies.
  • Eliminate the severe and growing danger posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery by strengthening international non-proliferation regimes, adopting and enforcing effective export controls, and taking other legitimate and appropriate measures against proliferation.
  • Confront other direct threats to the security of our region.

We pledged to discuss at each Leaders’ Meeting our progress toward these security commitments, and to take specific actions in pursuit of them.

We agreed this year to:

  • Strengthen our joint efforts to curb terrorist threats against mass transportation and confront the threat posed by terrorists’ acquisition and use of Man-Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS) against international aviation by committing to: adopt strict domestic export controls on MANPADS; secure stockpiles; take domestic action to regulate production, transfer, and brokering; ban transfers to non-state end-users; and exchange information in support of these efforts. We agreed to continue efforts to strengthen domestic controls on MANPADS and to review our progress next year in Chile.
  • Increase and better coordinate our counter-terrorism activities, where appropriate, through effective collaboration, technical assistance and capacity building, and cooperation between APEC’s Counter Terrorism Task Force, the Counter Terrorism Action Group (CTAG) of the G-8, the United Nations Security Council Counter Terrorism Committee and other relevant international, regional and functional organizations.
  • Implement the APEC Action Plan on SARS and our Health Security Initiative to help APEC prevent and respond to regional health threats, including naturally-occurring infectious disease and bio-terrorism. We welcomed the establishment by Singapore and the United States of a Regional Emerging Disease Intervention (REDI) Center. We encouraged the Life Sciences Innovation Forum to complete its strategic plan by 2004.
  • Establish a regional trade and financial security initiative within the Asian Development Bank, to support projects that enhance port security, combat terrorist finance, and achieve other counter-terrorism objectives.
  • Support implementation of the Advance Passenger Information (API) System pathfinder initiative and efforts to explore development of a regional movement alert system to protect air travelers.
  • Accelerate the implementation of the Energy Security Initiative by endorsing its Implementation Plan and, as appropriate, a new Action Plan to enhance regional and global energy security.

3. Using APEC to Help People and Societies Benefit from Globalization

Sustainable economic development requires empowering people and strengthening societies for globalization. In this regard, we welcomed efforts to increase APEC's contribution to this process by: making it more effective; better focusing and strengthening its work on economic and technical cooperation; and increasing its interaction with international financial institutions, the private sector, and other outside organizations. This will make APEC’s work more effective in bridging the gap between developed and developing economies.

To create the conditions that allow peoples and societies to make the most of their potential and prepare for the challenges of the future, we agreed to:

  • Strengthen efforts to empower people and societies, including women and youth, to integrate into the global economy. We underlined the importance of strengthening small and medium enterprises and micro enterprises, of social safety nets in promoting sustainable and equitable economic development, and of mainstreaming the informal sector. We welcomed the outcomes of the meetings of APEC Finance and SME Ministers in this regard and instructed Ministers to coordinate on micro enterprise financing and capacity building initiatives, in collaboration with international financial institutions and other relevant parties, in order to leverage resources for implementation of the Micro-Enterprises Action Plan in 2004.
  • Step up efforts to build knowledge-based economies. We instructed Ministers to accelerate progress towards the Brunei Goals on expanding Internet access, improvement of intellectual property rights facilitation, protection and enforcement, and implementation of the e-APEC Strategy, in partnership with relevant stakeholders. We voiced support for science and technology innovation, the upgrading of English-language and computer skills among the workforce for effective use of the Internet, advancing cyber-education and ICT capacity building, including for small and micro enterprises.
  • Strengthen regional efforts to promote sound and efficient financial systems and fundamentals. We urged further cooperation on development of domestic and regional bond markets, as well as securitization and credit guarantee markets to enhance the efficiency of those markets. We support issuance of new financial products, including long-term, local currency-denominated debt instruments, derivatives and asset-backed securities.
  • Accelerate structural reform in the APEC region. We reiterated APEC’s strong political commitment to continued structural reform to ensure sustainable economic growth and development in the Asia-Pacific region. We welcomed the adoption of the APEC Structural Reform Action Plan that includes strengthening economic legal infrastructure as a guiding working program and instructed Ministers to review implementation of this Action Plan and identify future initiatives.
  • Strengthen APEC. We discussed the need to make APEC more efficient and responsive to all stakeholders. We instructed Ministers to explore the issue and report on progress by the time we meet in Chile in 2004.

We endorsed in full the conclusions of and the Joint Statement agreed by Ministers at the Fifteenth APEC Ministerial Meeting.