Saturday, May 26, 2018

APEC trade ministers united to ensure economic growth, free trade, connectivity

by Levi J Parsons,

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea, May 26 (Xinhua) -- The 24th APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting concluded in Papua New Guinea's (PNG) capital city of Port Moresby on Saturday, with the nation's foreign mister and co-chair of the meeting Rimbink Pato labeling the talks a huge success.

"We have agreed to work collaboratively as we seek to drive sustainable economic growth and prosperity for the Asia Pacific region," Pato told reporters.

"Although there is a lot of ongoing work for APEC in the years ahead, we need to improve connectivity and deepen regional economic integration, as a united group we can address our challenges in cooperation so we ensure the success of economic growth, trade liberalization and freeing of markets."

With 21 member economies represented at the trade minister's two-day meeting, much of the talks focused on enhancing digital connectivity and using new technologies to drive economic growth.

"We have had a number of examples of small businesses over the last week presenting to senior officials and ministers on the question of what you can do in a remote area in terms of how you can connect up very small businesses to international markets," executive director of the APEC secretariat Alan Bollard told Xinhua.

One of those presentations came from a local PNG team who demonstrated how smartphone technology could be utilized to link makers of hand woven bilum products in remote villages with buyers from international markets.

According to PNG's delegate Wera Mori, this discussion on the digital future of the South Pacific was extremely fruitful.

"No doubt digital technology is very important," the commerce and industry minister told Xinhua.

"We must, not only be able to communicate but also connect with the rest of the world."

"It is a challenge but when there is a vision there is a way and we are working toward achieving that (with APEC)."

Member economies also agreed to work closely on improving food supply chains, bolstering free trade agreements, ensuring sustainable fishing across the Asia Pacific and creating more opportunities for female entrepreneurs.

APEC Leaders Meeting will take place in November in Port Moresby.

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