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Declaration of the Fifth Asia-Europe Parliamentary Partnership Meeting
Posted: June-23-2008Adjust font size:

Promoting the Doha Round of WTO Negotiations and facilitate trade and investment between Asia and Europe

7. ASEP parliamentarians reaffirmed the importance of an open, rule-based, multilateral trading system under the WTO to global trade balance and economic growth and financial stability of all countries and regions, believing that such a system will be the most effective in regulating and expanding trade relations among ASEM partners.

8. ASEP parliamentarians voiced concern over the slow progress in the multilateral trade negotiations and surging trade protectionism and expressed the view that this would have an adverse impact on the trade environment of the world, developing members in particular. They undertook to ask their governments to advance the Doha Round of negotiations to a comprehensive, balanced and early conclusion, preferably within this year, to ensure the realization of the development goals of the Doha Development Agenda for the real benefits of all members, especially developing members.

9. ASEP parliamentarians recognized that ensuring food security for their population is a primary duty for all countries, and noted that agriculture is one of the key issues in the Doha Round of negotiations, called on all members to demonstrate greater sincerity and flexibility to enable substantial progress in agricultural negotiations as well as in other related areas at the earliest possible date.

10. ASEP parliamentarians noted with concern the growing inflationary pressure on countries from the rising global food prices and their severe impact on the life of the poor population and the global poverty-reduction objective, recommended that their respective countries, developed ones in particular, take measures under the guidance and coordination of the United Nations to increase aid in the short-term and promote sustainable development of agricultural production and strengthen capacity-building that contributes to the improvement of agricultural productivity to raise food self-sufficiency in the medium and long-term, so as to bring about a fundamental solution to the issue of food security.

11. Believing that regional trade arrangements/free trade agreements are useful supplements to the multilateral trading system advocated by the WTO, ASEP parliamentarians supported regional cooperation carried out by ASEM partners in compliance with the WTO rules to promote cross-regional economic opening up and integration.

12. Reiterating that ASEM partners should work together to deepen the Asia-Europe economic partnership through closer cooperation and take concrete actions to reduce trade and investment barriers to facilitate trade opening up and mutual investment between Asia and Europe, ASEP parliamentarians called on all ASEM partners to regularly review the implementation of the Hanoi Declaration on Closer ASEM Economic Partnership.

13. Noting that the ASEM Investment Promotion Action Plan (IPAP) is aimed at promoting two-way flow of investment between Asia and Europe, ASEP parliamentarians expressed concern over the lack of substantial progress of ASEM in investment promotion in recent years, and urged ASEM partners to continue to encourage their investment institutions to deepen multilateral exchanges, information sharing and cooperation and explore the possibility of establishing a multilateral investment promotion mechanism under the guidance of the Action Plan. In this context and in view of the constraints of climate change, the ASEP parliamentarians drew particular attention to the need of increased investments in technologies designed to enhance environmental protection and energy efficiency and transfer of those technologies.

14. ASEP parliamentarians recognized the strong impetus European trade integration has given to the economic integration and overall growth of the region and welcomed the regional trade arrangements/free trade agreements that have been reached or are under negotiation in Asia. They also called for more in-depth studies on measures to promote Asia-Europe trade, including the establishment of an Asia-Europe free trade area.

15. Noting that this year is the year for mid-term review of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and that the United Nations will hold an MDGs high-level event in September, ASEP parliamentarians called on ASEM partners to seize the opportunity and work together for the worldwide fulfillment of the MDGs on schedule, particularly programmes directly related to poverty alleviation.

16. Agreeing that the international community should work to create an enabling external environment for the poverty-reduction and development endeavors of developing countries so that they can better meet the MDGs, ASEP parliamentarians urged developed countries to fulfill, as soon as possible, their commitment of increasing their ODA to 0.7% of their GNI.

17. Noting the exacerbated fluctuations in the international financial market and the expanded fallout of the subprime crisis, ASEP parliamentarians called on ASEM partners to increase dialogue and cooperation on financial policies to jointly safeguard stability of the regional financial market. They welcomed the active efforts of finance ministers of Asia and Europe to explore effective measures to deepen financial cooperation between the two regions, including continued implementation of the Tianjin Initiative on Closer ASEM Economic and Financial Cooperation and the establishment of an emergency dialogue mechanism to address economic and financial contingencies. ASEP parliamentarians applauded the efforts of Asian members in promoting financial and monetary integration, including the Chiang Mai Initiative, the Asian Bond Markets Initiative and the Asian Bond Fund.

18. ASEP parliamentarians welcomed active participation of the business communities in Asia and Europe in the ASEM process, reaffirmed the role of the Asia-Europe Business Forum as a bridge for closer contacts among the business communities of ASEM partners and a good platform for business-government interaction, and called on ASEM partners to implement more recommendations from the Business Forum.

19. ASEP parliamentarians reiterated the importance of closer cooperation on trade in services and among SMEs, and called on ASEM partners to implement the recommendations made at the inaugural ASEM SMEs Ministerial Meeting held in Beijing in October 2007 and work together to promote trade in services in Asia and Europe by encouraging dialogue, in the form of business fora and talks, between companies in the service sector and helping them find partners and business opportunities.

20. ASEP parliamentarians affirmed that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol are the major legitimate regime for international cooperation in addressing climate change and called on ASEM members to observe the provisions, principles and objectives of the convention, especially the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and make efforts to enable full, efficient and sustained implementation of the convention through long-term cooperation, now, up to and beyond 2012. ASEP parliamentarians recognized the scientific evidence of human activity influence on the current global warming trend and took note of the evidence that many natural systems are already affected by climate changes due to carbon emissions from industries. ASEP parliamentarians also recognized that adverse climate change could impede the ability of countries to follow sustainable development and attain the Millennium Development Goals. ASEP parliamentarians encouraged ASEM countries to work closely in the preparation for the United Nations Climate Conference in 2009, in order for the Conference to produce concrete results.

21. ASEP parliamentarians also noted the increasing importance of energy security and sustainable development and the need for international cooperation in this sector. Energy policy should also, in the context of sustainable development, have a more prominent role in Asia-Europe cooperation. Energy will also have an important role in transport and logistics between Asia and Europe. This cooperation can be further strengthened by developing new land and sea links between Asia and Europe.

22. ASEP parliamentarians noted that one possible adverse effect of climate change can be an increased occurrence of natural disasters. Therefore, they agreed on the need for all countries to increase efforts in the area of disaster preparedness and expressed their support for further improving national disaster preparedness schemes. ASEP parliamentarians also underlined the usefulness of exchanging expertise in this area.

Source: Lydia
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