|9th ASEM Foreign Ministers' Meeting tackles global challenges (05/26/09)|
HANOI, May 26 (Xinhua) -- The 9th Foreign Ministers' Meeting of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) closed in Hanoi on Tuesday, with stronger will from all participating parties to deepen the Asia-Europe partnership within the ASEM framework to tackle global challenges.
The meeting, first official foreign ministerial gathering of 45ASEM members since its second enlargement, passed a Chair's Statement.
In the context of deepening global financial and economic crisis, the statement rejected protectionism, called for stronger cooperation among countries in the two continents and pinned the hope of economic recovery for next year.
After two-day discussion, ministers agreed that the ongoing global financial crisis has resulted in sharp reduction in capital flows and negatively affected economic development, particularly that of the developing countries.
However, protectionist measures, increasingly seen as introducing or raising barriers to trade and investment by some countries, may provoke "retaliatory actions" and further harm world economy and delay its recovery, said ministers in the statement.
During a closed session on strengthening cooperation to address global financial and economic crisis, ministers agreed to promote the international efforts towards an open and equitable multilateral system of trade and finance, according to a press release of the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry.
Ministers at the meeting also called for enhancing market access for the exports of developing countries and promoting regional and inter-regional integration, said the statement.
Ministers supported international financial institutions to create further lending capacity with more flexible financing policies to effectively assist countries affected by the crisis and prevent capital outflow of developing countries.
Stronger cooperation within ASEM
With the theme of "forging closer Asia-Europe partnership to address the financial and economic crisis and other global challenges," the meeting saw ministers hold several rounds of discussion on boosting trade and investment linkage during the two days.
The ministers called for promoting cooperation in areas of mutual benefits including finance, transport, energy, science and technology, agriculture, forestry and fishery, education, sustainable urban development and tourism.
The ASEM Foreign Ministers' Meeting is responsible for the overall coordination of the ASEM process. According to this year' s meeting, the First ASEM Transport Ministers' Meeting will be held in Lithuania in October this year. It will launch the ASEM dialogue on transport and contribute to trade linkage of the two continents.
The meeting also agreed on the necessity for early resumption of the ASEM Economic Ministers' Meeting and encouraged full participation by all partners in such a meeting.
Ministers affirmed their support for strengthened ASEM energy cooperation. Ministers supported the establishment of a stable, effective and transparent global energy market. Ministers welcomed the first ASEM Ministerial Conference on Energy to be held in Belgium next month.
Ministers also encouraged the entrepreneurs to play more active role in ASEM economic cooperation, enhancing public-private partnership and promoting development of small and medium enterprises.
The encouragement would be translated into action at the eighth ASEM Summit to be held in Brussels next year by a plan to hold a dynamic Asia-Europe Business Forum in parallel with the summit.
Pin the hope for next year
Ministers pinned the hope for economic recovery next year. They agreed that the growth prospects for both developed and developing countries for 2009 have deteriorated and the current situation could go deeper in some countries and regions.
"It is possible that world economy might start recovering in 2010 with concerted efforts through close cooperation and coordination," said the statement.