Business leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation economies pledged yesterday to strengthen efforts in rooting out corruption to facilitate regional trade and investment.
Chief executives from APEC economies adopted an anti-corruption declaration during the two-day CEO summit held on the sidelines of the APEC leaders` summit on Friday and Saturday.
The business leaders hope greater participation in the global fight against corruption will help create a better business environment.
Hyun Jae-hyun, chairman of the 2005 APEC CEO Summit, submitted the special statement to Korean President Roh Moo-hyun after his speech at the business forum yesterday in Busan Lotte Hotel.
"We, 393 CEOs from APEC member economies, are joining global efforts to fight corruption," said Hyun, who is also chairman of Tongyang Group, a medium-sized conglomerate in Korea.
The annual CEO summit serves to give the region`s business chiefs a chance to share views on economic and trade issues with economists and policymakers.
The urgency of tackling corruption was underscored in the joint statement endorsed by foreign and trade ministers of the 21 APEC members on Wednesday.
"APEC`s goal of economic prosperity could not be achieved unless corruption, both in the domestic economies and in international business transactions, was effectively addressed and those individuals guilty of corruption were denied a safe haven," the ministerial statement said.
The business leaders also renewed their commitment to free trade.
"Though APEC consists of just 21 economies, it accounts for almost 60 percent of global GDP," said Kang Shin-bo, chairman of the Federation of Korean Industries, the lobby for the country`s big businesses.
"This is exactly why liberalization and the facilitation of trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region plays a vital role in achieving the prosperity of the global economy."
The agreement was announced yesterday at the closing ceremony of the APEC CEO Summit held on the sidelines of the leaders` summit on Friday and Saturday.
On Monday, the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) released an open letter to Pres. Roh seeking support for ensuring progress at the World Trade Organization ministerial meeting in Hong Kong next month.
"Nothing will do more to expand trade in the region than the successful completion of the Doha Development Agenda negotiations," said the ABAC letter. "We urge APEC leaders to exert their collective will in ways that cannot be denied. APEC leaders should consider adopting a concerted APEC position갤to bring the (Doha) Round to a successful conclusion next year."
APEC economies recognized the urgency of spurring the stalled global trade talks in Hong Kong in order to achieve a timely conclusion of the DDA round set for the end of 2006.
The ABAC also agreed to step up efforts in addressing violation of intellectual property rights, which threatens economic development.
"It is robbing; it is the equivalent of high crime," said Wendy Pye, managing director of New Zealand`s Pye Group, who chaired ABAC`s technology working group. She stressed that intellectual property rights violation "stops encouraging the development of intellectual property."
The business council is the only non-governmental body to play an official role at the APEC forum.
APEC leaders agreed to cooperate on reducing the production and trade of counterfeit goods during last year`s summit in Santiago, Chile. In June, trade ministers adopted an initiative against counterfeit and piracy at a meeting on Korea`s Jeju island.
ABAC members will meet with APEC economic leaders today as part of their annual summit.
By Yoo Soh-jung