[EDITORIALS]Liberalizing Trade Necessary

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[EDITORIALS]Liberalizing Trade Necessary

"Let's reverse a worldwide economic recession with free trade and investment." That is the message sent to the world Sunday by the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit held in Shanghai. The leaders of the 20 Asia Pacific economies urged the World Trade Organization ministerial meeting, scheduled for November, to launch multilateral trade negotiations, or a new round.

They also reaffirmed their commitment to the Bogor Declaration adopted at the 1994 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting, which aims at full liberalization of trade within the region by 2010 for advanced member economies and by 2020 for developing member economies.

We believe the declaration of the leaders of the Asia-Pacific region will contribute to keeping the world economy from sliding into contraction and protectionism, and will bring the economy back on track toward growth and openness. Considering the weight of the Asia-Pacific economy, which accounts for 60 percent of the world economy in terms of scale, and 70 percent in trade, the declaration is meaningful in that it predetermines the earlier launch of a new round.

Reconfirming the Bogor Declaration, which has almost become a mere scrap of paper since the 1997 Asian financial crisis, would play a great role in revitalizing the Asia-Pacific economy by promoting regional economic liberalization and exchange.

It is regrettable that North Korea declined to join the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting. Pyeongyang's participation would be an opportunity for it to take one step closer toward its transformation into a country with a market economy and a responsible member of the international community. South Korea supported China and Russia in their joining the APEC. Though belatedly, the government must consider giving active support to North Korea's joining the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation.
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