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No negotiations on APEC membership

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Even though the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) moratorium on new membership expired at the end of last year, there are no ongoing negotiations on Macau’s application.
“There are no current negotiations with Macau or the other 10 applicants. This issue is a matter for APEC leaders themselves,” an APEC spokesperson told Macau Daily Times.
Macau submitted its application for APEC membership before the 1999 handover, still during the Portuguese administration, the office of secretary for Economy and Finance, Francis Tam Pak Yuen, confirmed to MDTimes.
However, when asked if the MSAR was still interested in joining APEC and if the local authorities had discussed this possibility with the Central Government, Tam’s office twice declined to reply.
In 1997 APEC leaders decided to freeze the admission of new members in order to “lay firm foundations for the future given the considerable number of members,” 21.
Macau is one of 11 economies to have officially applied for membership, along with India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Macau, Mongolia, Laos, Panama, Colombia, Costa Rica, Sri Lanka and Ecuador.
Hong Kong and mainland China have been members of APEC since 1991.
The territory has been an official guest participant of the APEC working groups since 2001, Tam’s office stressed the MSAR is currently taking part in four groups: small and medium enterprises; industrial science and technology; tourism; and transportation.
Last November the APEC leaders decided in a meeting in Yokohama, Japan, not to extend the moratorium, which expired at end of 2010.
In their declaration, they stated: “Keeping in mind the benefits of APEC membership as well as the need for efficiency to achieve results, we will continue to review the question of APEC new membership going forward.”

V.Q.

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