APEC Ministerial Meeting (Photo by : APEC)

Integration in Asia Pacific

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – The ministers from the 21 APEC member economies issued joint statement on Saturday, reinforcing the profile of APEC as a driver of economic growth and integration in the Asia Pacific.

The joint statement issued ahead of the meeting of APEC leaders, who are also expected to also joint communique later in the day.

The statement covers deepening of regional economic integration; promoting sustainable, innovative and inclusive growth; strengthening micro, small and medium enterprise competitiveness and innovation; enhancing food security and sustainable agriculture in response to climate change as well as APEC toward 2020 and beyond.

“We remain committed to achieving the Bogor Goals of free and open trade and investment in the region. We will take concrete actions toward the achievement of the Bogor Goals by 2020,” the ministers said in the joint statement said.

APEC economies represents 39 per cent of the world’s population, totaling around 3 billion, and contributing around 60 perc ent of the World GDP.

The ministers also recognize the work of the WTO in ensuring international trade is rules-based, free, open, fair, transparent, predictable and inclusive.

“Members must improve adherence to rules as agreed upon. We commit to cooperate to improve the functioning of the WTO by addressing challenges,” the joint statement said.

They also declared their commitment to “fight protectionism, including all unfair trade practices, recognizing the role of legitimate trade defense instruments.”

The APEC ministers called for the continued implementation of the Investment Facilitation Action Plan by way of enhance capacity building, support more investment and policy dialogues, and promote inclusive business and community engagement and encourage investment that supports inclusive economic growth.

Promoting Digital Economy

The APEC ministers also highlight the importance role of internet and digital economy in promoting innovative development and empowering economic participations of member economies.

“We emphasize the opportunities that the Internet and Digital Economy offers to achieve sustainable, inclusive and innovative growth, including businesses’ participation, particularly MSMEs’ in GVCs and the global market,” the ministers said in the joint statement.

To achieve this, the ministers praised the achievement made by the Ad Hoc Steering Group on the Internet Economy (AHSGIE) and support the APEC Roadmap on Internet and Digital Economy.

“We encourage member economies to implement the Roadmap effectively,” the statement said.

“We encourage economies’ initiatives to explore new areas of potential economic growth in the area of digital trade, including identifying building blocks,” they said.

“As building consumer trust in the use of the Internet is critical to the growth of Internet and Digital Economy in the region, we support continued dialogue between the public and private sectors to strengthen that trust through appropriate consumer protection and privacy rules,” they said.

The APEC forum was born in 1989 to promote free trade and economic integration and cooperation among all of its Pacific-rim economies. The APEC meeting this year falls under the theme of “Creating a new dynamism and a shared future.” Next year’s APEC Summit will be held in Papua New Guinea.

Written by Roffien Kurniawan, Email: roffie@theinsiderstories.com