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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 November, 2004, 14:23 GMT
Terror tops Asia-Pac talks agenda
By Clinton Porteous
BBC News, Santiago

Protesters in Chile ahead of the Apec summit
Protesters have made their objections to the summit plain
Counter-terrorism and trade are expected to dominate discussion as ministers from 21 Asian-Pacific nations meet in Chile on Wednesday.

The meeting precedes the weekend's Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Forum, attended by national leaders.

Despite the announcement that he is leaving his post soon, Colin Powell will still represent the US at the annual ministerial meeting.

The conference will run for two days and then issue a lengthy declaration.

A draft copy of the statement, obtained by the BBC and two Australian newspapers, shows a major emphasis on counter terrorism.

Food threat

The draft declaration calls for new restrictions to stop terrorists obtaining dangerous items such as manned portable air defence systems.

These are shoulder-fired missiles that can bring down planes as they take off or land.

The document also warns of possible terrorist attacks through toxic or hazardous material hidden in food.

Security issues have become increasingly important to Apec in recent years, but there is a focus on trade.

The ministers are due to declare their support for recent efforts to try and restart global trade talks.

But they are also likely to warn that agricultural protection remains a key stumbling block.

The 21 Apec economies, which include China, Russia and Japan, collectively represent 47% of world trade.

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