APEC 2017: Indonesia Advancing in the Right Direction

Photo by APEC

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) has gone a long way since its inception, and the member economies have been able to make substantial progress in many areas. For nearly three decades, APEC has contributed to sustaining growth and advancing economic integration in the Asia-Pacific region, created millions of jobs and lifting hundreds of millions out of poverty.

One of the main drivers of such progress is the ‘Bogor Goals’ of free and open trade and investment in Asia-Pacific, adopted by APEC Leaders when Indonesia hosted and chaired APEC 1994.

Photo by APEC

Since then, the Bogor Goals have inspired Member Economies in their pursuit for sustainable development and equitable growth. This is done through policies which are aimed at enhancing trade and investment flows through economic openness.

Some of the progress towards the Bogor Goals:

Tariff rates are much lower relative to those in the 1990s.The number of Regional Trade Agreements/Free Trade Agreements (RTAs/FTAs) in force has soared since early 2000s.

Many sectors are more accessible to trade, foreign investment and services than ever before. Indicators of trade and investment facilitation have improved over time. Living standards have improved. Enrollment in tertiary education has increased significantly. Access to electricity has expanded. Poverty has fallen significantly.

Certainly, there is still more work that APEC Economies can do to improve existing trade and investment conditions, as progress has been uneven across the region, while inequality and unemployment persist, according to Desra Percaya, Director General for Asia-Pacific and Africa Affairs, Indonesian Foreign Ministry.

‘In general, APEC has been advancing in the right direction, as trade and investment openness has been accompanied by socioeconomic improvements within the region,’ he told TheInsiderStories Monday, Nov. 6.

The latest APEC Economic Leaders’ Summit will be held in Da Nang, Vietnam from 6~11 November 2017. This is the second time Vietnam has taken on the role of APEC Chair to host its activities.

The APEC theme of ‘Creating New Dynamism, Fostering a Shared Future’ for 2017, set by Vietnam, was highly evaluated and supported by APEC members and partners.

On the basis of promoting the achievement of APEC cooperation in the past, Vietnam has selected four major priorities, namely, promoting sustainable, innovative and inclusive growth; deepening regional economic integration; strengthening micro, small and medium enterprises’ competitiveness and innovation in the digital age; and enhancing food security and sustainable agriculture in response to climate change.

Moreover, in the role of APEC Chair, Vietnam has received strong support from other APEC members, for proposing many initiatives, like establishing a mechanism to discuss long-term APEC cooperation.

This includes forming the Forum’s vision post-2020, holding high-level policy dialogues on developing human resources, multilateral APEC dialogues towards 2020, especially the initiative on promoting inclusiveness in developing regional economies, society, and finance.

The initiative on promoting inclusiveness in developing regional economies, society and finance is expected to connect APEC’s standing cooperative programs, providing everyone with the fruits of globalization and trade liberalization.

This initiative of Vietnam has been widely supported by other APEC members, as it met many members’ concerns for ensuring the welfare of their people as well as entrepreneurs fully taking part and sharing interest equally in economic growth and connections, in the context of increased inequality and development gaps.

The initiative reaffirms the practical role of APEC, meeting its members’ common expectations while contributing to the establishment of a sustainable and inclusively developing APEC community.

APEC was established in 1989 in Canberra, Australia. In the first year, 12 countries became members, namely, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and the US. In 1991, China and Hong Kong joined the group, Mexico and Papua New Guinea in 1993, Chile in 1994, Peru, Russia and Vietnam in 1998 and Mongolia in 2013.

Written by Elisa Valenta, email: elisa.valenta@theinsiderstories.com