Sunday, September 26, 2010

APEC senior officials assess progress ahead of leaders' meeting

Issued by the APEC Secretariat


Sendai, Japan, 26 September, 2010 – Senior officials discussed key reports and recommendations on enhancing trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region that will be submitted to Ministers and Leaders of member economies when they meet in November.

 At the two-day senior officials’ meeting (SOM) in Sendai, Japan, delegates focused on APEC’s 2010 initiatives including its “high-quality” growth strategy, assessment on progress of the Bogor Goals and the way forward on greater regional economic integration.

 They made progress on the substance of APEC’s growth strategy, which aims to improve the quality of economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region in the wake of the global financial crisis, and identifies five key areas to target.

 Although the APEC region has become the world’s growth centre by promoting free and open trade and economic integration, APEC Leaders declared in 2009 the need for a strategy on growth, recognising that challenges such as further environmental sustainability and social inclusiveness are essential to the future prosperity and well-being of its citizens.

 “Is it clear that member economies cannot continue with ‘growth as usual’ and the quality needs to be improved so that it is more balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure,” APEC Japan 2010 senior official co-chair Shigeru Nakamura said.

 “Member economies recognise, for example, the need to protect our environment and natural resources and therefore develop sustainable growth. APEC could also contribute to inclusive growth by promoting policies for job creation as well as more economic opportunities for women,” he said.

APEC Japan 2010 senior official co-chair Hidehiko Nishiyama added: “The meeting made progress towards finalising this strategy which will be presented to leaders on the way forward for the next five years.”

 Senior officials also held discussions on the substance of a report that assesses APEC member economies’ progress on free and open trade. The assessment report on meeting the Bogor goals will also be presented to ministers and leaders in November.

 APEC Leaders issued a declaration in Bogor, Indonesia in 1994 that called for industrialised member economies to achieve free and open trade by 2010, and developing members by 2020. APEC has conducted a thorough and objective assessment on the progress of achieving those goals, with consultation from APEC’s policy support unit and external bodies.

 The progress of five economies – Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and the USA – has been examined. Another eight economies, Chile, Hong Kong China, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore and Chinese Taipei, have volunteered to undergo early assessment before their own target date of 2020. 

 Officials also focused on the way forward on APEC’s strategy for structural reform. APEC is undertaking initiatives aimed at making it easier to do business by reducing “behind-the-border” barriers to trade, such as reducing unnecessary and costly regulations and reforming competition policy.

 They also focused on ways to accelerate regional economic integration, including possible pathways to a free trade area of the Asia-Pacific.

 Officials have been holding related meetings, workshops and symposiums in Sendai in the lead up to the senior officials’ meeting, which covered a wide range of issues, including non-tariff barriers to trade, energy security, food security, disaster preparedness, sustainable tourism, anti-corruption and supply chain connectivity.

 The APEC senior officials’ meeting is the third this year, and officials will gather again in November to finalise recommendations for ministers’ and leaders’ meeting, which takes place later that month.


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