Meanwhile, the CUL and EVSL
programmes no doubt assisted ASEAN members of APEC to move closer towards their AFTA objectives, albeit not that significantly.
APEC also claimed that EVSL
would be good for the environment.
Thai government spokesman Akapol Sorasucharthai said Thailand understands both positions and is committed to EVSL
For instance, at the Kuala Lumpur meeting the Japanese foreign minister Masahiko Komura openly stated his displeasure with the EVSL
initiative: "although I am not very familiar with the English language, I understand that the V in EVSL
stands for voluntary, which means this is not a process for negotiation.
Of the total 15 EVSL
initiatives, only one, the Telecommunications Mutual Recognition Arrangement, which was part of the fast-track package but did not involve tariff reductions, has been successfully concluded within APEC in the form of a mutual recognition agreement.
Japan is intensifying its diplomatic efforts on the issue because the country is likely to come under pressure from other APEC members to accept EVSL
in annual meetings among leaders and ministers to be held in Kuala Lumpur on Nov.
was agreed upon at the APEC summit in Vancouver last year.
Talks on the EVSL
were stalled mainly because the United States called on Japan to participate in all nine listed sectors, while Japan insisted on limiting its participation to seven, excluding the fishery and forestry sectors that are politically sensitive in Japan.
The United States and other agriculture exporters in APEC are pushing Japan to accept EVSL
in all nine sectors.
, agreed upon at APEC's annual meeting in Vancouver in November last year, calls for fast-track tariff cuts, trade rule harmonization, and economic and technical cooperation in nine selected industries.
Japan has so far refused to liberalize trade in two politically sensitive sectors -- fisheries products and forestry products -- which left Japan isolated at an APEC trade ministerial meeting in June, where other participants either endorsed or did not comment on EVSL
, the official said.
trade negotiator also blasted Japan for trying to ''discourage'' other APEC nations through bilateral meetings from joining the EVSL