PNG PM says to release formal APEC statement at later date

PORT MORESBY (Reuters) – Papua New Guinea will release a formal closing statement for the regional APEC forum in coming days, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said on Sunday, as the 21-member body was unable to agree on a leaders’ statement for the first time in its history.

In his closing comments to the forum, O’Neill also said the group was trying to ensure “free and open” trade by 2020.

Disagreement over the future of multilateral trade was a sticking point, PNG Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato told Reuters earlier.

(This version of the story corrects paraphrase of PNG foreign minister to clarify trade was a sticking point)

Reporting by Jonathan Barrett and Philip Wen; Editing by Himani Sarkar and David Evans

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