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Alejandro Reyes APEC '99: Day Seven
Men - and One Woman - in Black
By ALEJANDRO REYES Auckland


also:
Key Points of the Declaration
East Timor Update


September 15, 1999
Web posted at 7:30 p.m. Hong Kong time, 7:30 a.m. EDT


    THE APEC SUMMIT
APEC '99 by the Numbers

Day Seven
Men - and One Woman - in Black
- Monday, Sept. 13, 1999

Day Six
On the Diplomatic Trail With Thailand's Chuan Leekpai
- Sunday, Sept. 12, 1999

Day Five
Days of Diplomacy
- Saturday, Sept. 11, 1999

Day Four
Even before he arrives, Bill Clinton makes his presence felt
- Friday, Sept. 10, 1999

Day Three
East Timor, Trade Talks, Clinton - and What The Leaders Will Wear
- Thursday, Sept. 9, 1999

Day Two: The Missing Agenda
Between East Timor and impending Sino-U.S. talks, the real business of APEC is being pushed aside
- Wednesday, Sept. 8, 1999

Day One
The hosts spend big to put their best foot forward. But will the Timor situation rain on Auckland's parade?
- Tuesday, Sept. 7, 1999

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Everybody had only one question as they watched John Howard's motorcade slide up the long driveway to the Auckland Museum - what will the Australian prime minister be wearing? The answer: a merino wool long-sleeved polo shirt with a lined padded yachting jacket. The whole ensemble was in New Zealand's team color, black. On the jacket, an embroidered fern leaf (another national symbol) in white. When the Australian prime minister stepped into the museum lobby to meet New Zealand counterpart Jenny Shipley, he may have looked a little embarrassed to be photographed wearing the All-Black attire, lest he be branded a traitor to his home sports teams. Bill Clinton arrived holding his jacket over his shoulder, looking relaxed and unperturbed by the rain and wind.

The 21 leaders gathered in the museum for their "retreat," an informal closed-door meeting just among themselves, though advisers are not far away. They have two sessions - one in the morning, another after lunch. This is the culmination of the APEC week and, indeed, of the organization's calendar. The leaders discuss various issues put to them by their officials and ministers, particularly any matters that remain to be resolved. And they put the final touches on the declaration or communiqué that is issued at the end of the day. Finally, the group poses with arms linked for the usual official photograph.

At 4 p.m., they emerged from their conclave. Shipley, as host, read a summary of the declaration, dubbed "The Auckland Challenge." The PM, the only woman among the pack, sported a black turtle neck and a silver fern brooch, instead of the embroidered patch. "Our meeting marks ten years of unprecedented cooperation throughout APEC," she said. "This year we have sought to create a strong platform for our second decade."  

Key Points of the Declaration
APEC  •  Leaders are committed to continuing economic reforms and are aware of the risks to the region's recovery.

 •  APEC renews its commitment to the Bogor goals of free and open trade and investment by 2010 for developed economies and 2020 for developing ones. Members will make their "individual action plans," or blueprints for meeting the Bogor target, "more specific, transparent, and comprehensive." Ministers will give priority to improving trade facilitation and eliminating non-tariff impediments to trade.

 •  The group will work to strengthen its markets and its financial and banking sectors. It is launching an initiative to develop a set of banking standards which may be adopted APEC-wide.

 •  APEC is committed to the launch of a new round of multilateral trade negotiations. The declaration does not specify exactly when a new round should begin, though it is expected to be launched at the World Trade Organization's ministerial conference in Seattle in late November. This new round should be comprehensive and be wound up within three years "as a single package." APEC leaders support the abolition of agricultural export subsidies and the accession to the WTO of those APEC economies that are not yet members of the global trade body (Russia, Vietnam, China and Taiwan).

 •  The leaders agreed to recommendations from the APEC Business Advisory Council to further liberalize air services in the Pacific Rim.

 •  APEC must do more to win the trust of citizens. "We challenge our economies to strengthen our markets," said Shipley. "We challenge the world to move to freer trade. And we challenge ourselves as leaders to bring our people with us to broaden support for the work of APEC." Concluded the PM: "That is the Auckland challenge. We accept that challenge today."

 

East Timor Update
With the Indonesian decision late Sept. 12 to allow a U.N. peacekeeping force in East Timor, leaders concentrated on APEC's official economic agenda and did not discuss the troubled province. With the diplomatic focus shifting to New York - Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas is due at the U.N. headquarters - the issue now is the composition of the force. Indonesia would prefer an Asian-led contingent, but that wish may not be feasible. Before leaving his hotel for the leaders' retreat, Clinton stressed that Jakarta could not dictate any conditions to the U.N. The 5,000-7,000-strong multinational force is likely to be led by Australia, with the U.S. offering only a few hundred troops to provide only logistical support.


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