Concluding Senior Officials Meeting (photo source : APEC)

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Senior Officials Meeting have completed an agreement on several issues including food security and sustainable agriculture, inclusive and innovative sustainable growth, regional economy integration as well as strengthening micro, small, and medium enterprise (MSEMs) competitiveness and innovation.

The agreements are aimed at strengthening the economic integration agenda, such as APEC services competitiveness roadmap to increase services trade by 6.8 percent per year during 2017-2025, as well as 2017-2020s supply chain connectivity framework to reduce cost, uncertainty and lateness in the regional trade.

“We are fully aware that technology and innovation are important keys to improve our MSMEs competitiveness,” General Director for International Trade Negotiation of the Ministry of Trade, Imam Pambagyo said in a press statement on Thursday (Nov 9).

“APEC should facilitate e-commerce in the region, through MSMEs capacity improvement and provide them better access to digital infrastructure, data security, ease of cross border e-commerce procedure,” he added.

For Indonesia, APEC is considered as strategic partnership to foster trade and investment which is pro-inclusive growth, village development as well as poverty reduction.

In addition, the Concluding Senior Officials Meeting (CSOM) also agrees other initiatives such as APEC Best Practices for Promoting Supporting Industries and APEC framework on cross border e-commerce facilitation.

The CSOM was held on Tuesday and Wednesday in Da Nang coastal town of Vietnam, followed by APEC Ministerial meeting on Wednesday and Thursday. The ministerial meeting discussion, held ahead of APEC Summit on Nov. 10-11, focused on trade and protectionism.

Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Pham Binh Minh described the meeting as a big success, following previous diverse opinion about trade and protectionism.

The U.S’ concerns were mainly on issues such as free trade and protectionism, according to officials present at the closed-door meeting. that the U.S did not want to use the word “protectionism” in the text, preferring the phrase “fair trade” instead.

“We are aware of the current U.S administration’s views. They have big issues with Japan and China as they argued that the trade surplus occurred due to the unfair world trading system. That is the dispute at the meeting this time around,” he said to reporters in Da Nang, Vietnam.

The other success agreement was the support on Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), a scheme to liberalize trade and investment. Event Russian President Vladimir Putin supports the idea, saying the FTAAP represents an opportunity to strengthen the members position in the rapidly growing Asia-Pacific region market.

Putin also emphasizes the development of Russia’s Far East as “a national priority for the 21st century” and expresses willingness to strengthen ties between Russia’s Far East and three countries: Japan, China and South Korea. To achieve the goal, he proposes implementing bilateral and multilateral infrastructure projects in such fields as energy supply and transportation.

Written by Yosi Winosa, email: Yosi.winosa@theinsiderstories.com

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