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PRESS STATEMENT September 16, 1998

APEC senior officials are meeting this week in Malaysia to prepare the way for the meeting of APEC Leaders to be held in Kuala Lumpur in November 1998. The South Pacific Forum is also represented.

APEC has most Pacific rim countries in its membership, including many key trade and economic partners of Forum member countries. Three Forum members, Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, are APEC members in their own right. Other Forum member countries can access APEC proceedings by means of the Forum's observership in APEC.

So far this year, the Forum has been represented at APEC's Trade and Information Industries Ministerial Meeting by the Hon. Sailele Tuilaepa Malielegaoi, Deputy Prime Minister of Samoa, and at APEC's Trade Ministerial Meeting by the Hon. Daniel Kwanairara, Minister of Commerce, Industries and Employment of Solomon Islands.

Arrangements are also being made for a Forum country Minister to attend an upcoming APEC meeting on women's issues.

The Forum's representative at this week's meeting, Deputy Secretary General Tony Slatyer, said that these involvements by the Forum were extremely valuable for the region in several ways.

"First, this region's perspectives on key development issues can be introduced directly into APEC, and taken into account by APEC members as they formulate their own individual and collective policies.

"Second, good policy ideas from APEC can be brought back into the Forum and considered in the design of our own regional initiatives.

"Third, Forum country Ministers have the opportunity to be directly involved with their counterparts from very large and influential countries, and establish better mutual understandings of each others' policies and development situations."

The APEC senior officials meeting this week is dealing with several issues of direct importance to most Forum members, including:

Member economies of APEC are Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, People's Republic of China, Hong Kong China, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, and United States of America.

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