Delegates also said the ministers are expected to study measures to realize an APEC-wide free trade agreement called the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), covering about half of global trade and 60 percent of the world economy.
The FTAAP would be based on the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) -- an 11-nation, high-standard FTA that will come into force Dec. 30 -- and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a 16-nation Asian FTA whose negotiations are ongoing. Both the TPP and RCEP do not involve the United States.
The ministerial meeting paves the way for a two-day APEC summit starting November 17 in the Papua New Guinea capital, an event that will bring together Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, US Vice President Mike Pence, among other regional leaders.
Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc will also attend the summit.
APEC comprises 21 economies, namely Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong (China), Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, the US, and Vietnam.