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APEC to reinforce region as vanguard for global growth

Publication Date : 04-09-2012


Senior officials from Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation's (APEC) 21 member economies concluded their preparations yesterday by finalising their recommendations to leaders and ministers on advancing APEC's 2012 priorities to strengthen trade and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region and reinforcing the region's position as the vanguard for global growth.

The 2012 APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting, hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin, will be held on Russkiy Island, off the coast of Vladivostok, Russia on Sept. 8-9. It is set to be preceded by an annual gathering of APEC ministers on Sept. 5-6.

During the meetings, APEC leaders and ministers will, in particular, consider the outcome of work toward APEC's 2012 priorities to strengthen trade and investment, regional economic integration, supply chains, food security and innovation.

Setting the stage, APEC senior officials will evaluate APEC's key achievements this year, including the progress it made on fulfilling the leaders' instructions to develop a list of environmental goods that directly and positively contribute to sustainable development.

"APEC members and stakeholders have continued to intensively work on 'next generation' trade and investment issues to produce a set of specific and tangible deliverables for 2012," said APEC 2012 Senior Official Meeting chairman Igor Morgulov, who is also Russia's deputy minister of foreign affairs.

"The results are crucial to improving opportunities for businesses and workers by facilitating global supply chains, assisting small and medium enterprises and promoting effective, non-discriminatory and market-driven innovation policy."

APEC senior officials have also reached a consensus on measures to further strengthen transparency in trade agreements and implement a more systematic approach to alleviating supply chain chokepoints.

"Work on these issues drives APEC toward regional economic integration and contributes to building a free trade area in the Asia-Pacific region," Morgulov said.

In a separate development, APEC finance ministers concluded their meeting yesterday by issuing a joint statement on advancing policies to make the region’s financial sector more balanced and inclusive.

The joint statement provides guidance for APEC economies on improve fiscal sustainability, with attention to public finance governance and the need to closely monitor vulnerabilities stemming from the build-up of excessive private debt.

It also put forward concrete initiatives for improving member economies’ strategies for financial literacy and strengthening natural disaster risk management. The consensus among APEC ministers was that such approaches can collectively mitigate immediate global and regional challenges within the financial sector and reinvigorate growth, while addressing structural issues to put the financial sector on more solid footing in the longer-term.

The ongoing debt crisis and instability in global markets has slowed economic development in APEC economies, but there is dynamism in the region, said Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, who chaired the meeting. "We meet at a time when the global financial crisis has been going for three years," he said. "Today [Monday], we are going to analyse how to counter these trends."

The APEC forum was established to take advantage of the growing interdependence among Asia-Pacific economies, to facilitate economic growth for all participants and to enhance a sense of community.

It aims to improve regional trade and economic performance and linkages for the prosperity of the people in the region.

Since its inception in 1989, APEC has helped reduce tariffs and other barriers to trade across the Asia-Pacific region. Business transaction costs were cut by 5 per cent between 2006 and 2010, according to the APEC Secretariat, representing cost savings of close to US$59 billion for business. APEC has worked to create an environment to ensure the safe and efficient movement of goods, services and people across borders through policy decisions and economic and technical cooperation.


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