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Last Updated: Saturday, 19 November 2005, 11:48 GMT
Apec urges end to trade stalemate
Apec protesters in Busan
Thousands of protesters clashed with police outside the summit

Pacific Rim leaders have ended their summit in South Korea by pressing for Europe to lift obstacles to global trade at talks next month.

Participants identified Europe as the main obstacle though they refrained from mentioning it by name in the declaration adopted in Busan.

Pressure is mounting for food import tariffs and farm subsidies to be cut.

Leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (Apec) also agreed action on bird flu and terrorism.

Protesters in Busan, among them anti-globalists, again clashed with police who used water cannon to prevent them getting near the conference venue.

US President George W Bush, who was at the summit along with the 20 other Apec leaders, has flown on to Beijing where he will meet Chinese leaders on Sunday.

Message to Europe

The combined economies of Apec - which also includes China and Russia - represent 57% of the world economy.

[Apec leaders] are basically saying that now the ball is in Europe's court
Ban Ki-moon
South Korean foreign minister

Their leaders are seeking a breakthrough in the World Trade Organization's (WTO) so-called Doha round of talks.

These began in 2001 with the aim of working towards a system of trade rules that are fairer to developing countries and have become mired in disagreement ahead of the next meeting in Hong Kong in December.

In their closing statement, the Apec leaders called on "all other WTO members" to "break the current impasse in agriculture negotiations, in particular in market access".

Apec leaders (from left to right) Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang, US President George W Bush, Australia's Prime Minister John Howard and Peru's President Alejandro Toledo
The two-day summit ended with a joint statement from leaders

They said they were sending their message particularly "to those that have the largest stake in the global trading system and derive the biggest benefits there from".

Europe is seen as the main obstacle to progress with its generous subsidies to farmers and tariffs on food imports.

At the start of the summit, South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon suggested the European Union (EU) could be more flexible.

"They are basically saying that now the ball is in Europe's court," he said.

EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson stressed this week that the EU would stick to its current offer on cuts to farm import tariffs and subsidies, and wanted moves by others on manufactured goods and services.

Bird flu simulation

At the meeting in Busan, the leaders also agreed a series of joint initiatives to tackle the threat of bird flu, which has already claimed the lives of at least 60 people in Asian countries.

Birds in a Jakarta market
The leaders have agreed to co-ordinate efforts to fight bird flu

They said they want to develop a list of "available and funded" experts in the region and build "capabilities for responding rapidly to pandemic influenza in its early stages".

A "desktop" simulation exercise is planned for early next year to test their responses to a possible pandemic.

Leaders also condemned terrorism, pledging to confront the threat by "dismantling trans-border terror groups and eliminating weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery".

They also agreed to intensify cooperation to tackle corruption and boost investment in energy technology.

The issue of North Korea's nuclear ambitions was not mentioned in the closing statement but South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun said leaders welcomed "positive progress" at negotiations.

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