Australian foreign minister Alexander Downer has expressed
support for India becoming a member of the Asia Pacific
Economic Cooperation forum (APEC), which is meeting in
Sydney this week.
private view is that APEC would benefit from India being
a member but there''s certainly, from our discussions over
the last few months, not an emerging consensus for expanding
the membership of APEC," Downer said.
said India was among 12 countries, along with Pakistan,
Sri Lanka, Cambodia, and a number of nations in Central
and Latin America that had applied to join the 21-member
which was established in 1989, groups Australia, Brunei,
Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, South
Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea,
Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand,
the US and Vietnam, represents half of world trade, a
third of its population and 60 per cent of the output
of goods and services.
Prime Minister John Howard also last week backed India''s
case for admission to the Asia-Pacific club. Howard, however,
expects APEC to extend a moratorium on new membership
until 2010 at this week''s meeting.
has long been interested in joining APEC and India-backers
believe that its geographical location, trade and investment
interaction and the sheer size of its economy are too
big to be ignored by a forum that includes tiny nations
such as Papua New Guinea and Peru.
Australia is under pressure to lower aspirational goals
for reducing greenhouse gas emissions that drive climate
change. In fact, the APEC leaders'' meeting is under pressure
from some of its members to give up on even that slender
objective and settle for something even less ambitious.
looking more likely that in the closing declaration the
United States, China, Russia, Japan, Indonesia and other
major emitters will agree that cutting emissions is something
they aspire to but not something they want to set a target
a draft leaked to the press the week before Apec convened,
Howard''s officials had suggested a 25-per cent reduction
by 2030 in energy intensity - reducing by a quarter the
energy required to produce goods and services
there is still time for Howard to bring other APEC leaders
round to adopting an "agreed long-term aspirational
goal." He has the support of US President George
W Bush in wanting to move the grouping forward.
minister Alexander Downer is still optimistic that there
is movement to be made. "We will be pressing for
a commitment by all APEC economies to the key elements
of a genuinely global response to climate change. Australia
would like to see the APEC leaders agree for the first
time that a new international agreement should include
an agreed long-term aspiration goal for reducing greenhouse
gas emissions," Downer said.