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Monday, November 16, 1998 Published at 23:23 GMT

World: Asia-Pacific

Aid package for east Asia

An alternative way: Not everyone supports Apec

An initiative to provide east Asian economies with financial support worth $10 billion has been announced ahead of the Apec summit.

Japan, the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank will provide half the money.

The remaining $5 billion will come from the US.

A statement said the fund, called the Asian Growth and Recovery Initiative, was being launched to help countries affected by the economic crisis to recover as quickly as possible.

They will use the money to help finance restructuring programmes, and to revive banks and businesses burdened with bad debts.

Earlier, Apec trade ministers abandoned efforts to agree a package of free trade measures to boost their economy

Free trade around the Pacific Rim has been a primary Apec mission ever since the 21-member organisation's inception in 1989.

The breakdown of talks on trade barriers is a serious setback to the organisation's annual gathering.

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