So far APEC has focused on climate change and war. But today behind the hand pumping and smiling faces lie some thorny trade issues that need to be resolved.
The summit began this morning with sessions on the Asia-Pacific outlook and trade. A seminar will also be held on intellectual property protection.
But business is really waiting for tomorrow when US President George W Bush will address the APEC summit. He is expected to say that his government would show flexibility on talks to advance the Doha round of trade negotiations.
Meanwhile, Australian PM John Howard meets China’s President Hu Jintao today. On the table for discussion are Australia’s energy exports and attempts to increase Australian wool exports to China. Slow progress in the China and Australia free trade agreement will also be raised.
Yesterday the Australian Government also signed a memorandum of understanding with China to prevent the exploitation of Chinese workers under the s.457 temporary skilled migrant visa scheme.
Meanwhile, the US Government also confirmed that Australians will be able to spend their gap year in the US and US students will be allowed to apply for a visa allowing them to travel and work in Australia for up to a year.