APEC resolves to push ICT goals

Leaders from the 21 APEC nations, including New Zealand, concluded their two-day summit in Bangkok with a commitment to speed up progress toward previously set information-economy goals and to continue fighting optical disc piracy.

Leaders from the 21 APEC nations, including New Zealand, concluded their two-day summit in Bangkok with a commitment to speed up progress toward previously set information-economy goals and to continue fighting optical disc piracy.

In a declaration issued at the end of this week's summit the officials said they instructed ministers to step up work toward IT goals, which include universal access to the internet for all citizens of APEC by 2010. The goals were decided at a previous APEC meeting in Brunei Darussalam.

"We instructed ministers to accelerate progress towards the Brunei goals on expanding internet access, improvement of intellectual property rights protection, implementation of the e-APEC Strategy, and upgrading the ability of the workforce to effectively use the Internet, by developing their English-language and computer skills," said Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra at a press conference at the end of the meeting.

The portions of the declaration dealing with IT also covered other ground, including improvement of intellectual property rights facilitation, protection and enforcement and implementation of the e-APEC Strategy.

Officials at the summit noted that training of people and the skills they posses are a more crucial aspect of the information society than physical infrastructure. The leaders shared a view that a three-way partnership between government, business and academia is vital in developing both the areas of infrastructure and human capacity.

A plan that aims to reduce piracy of optical discs by strengthening regulation of disc production facilities was also endorsed.

The report, "Effective Practices for Regulation of Optical Disc Production", was prepared by an APEC intellectual property rights working group and proposes to cut piracy by attempting to lay an audit trail that will identify facilities producing pirate discs. Measures include the licensing of optical disc production factories and the requirement for each disc pressed to carry an identification code.

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