Senior officials from the 21 APEC member economies working to consolidate gains in trade and growth are considering the long-term requirements for achieving a more prosperous and inclusive Asia-Pacific region.
Convening in Port Moresby on the eve of the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting
here, senior officials assessed the status of collaboration between APEC economies to address emerging trade challenges and digital development.
"There is a need for us to cooperate to bring forth policy outcomes that reflect the aspirations of APEC collectively and meet the high expectations of the people in our economies," said Ivan Pomaleu
, Papua New Guinea's Ambassador to APEC and 2018 Chair of the APEC Senior Officials' Meeting.
"Our focus is on achieving understanding in APEC towards advancing trade and economic policies that secure regional integration inroads, ease connectivity bottlenecks, and structurally promote more inclusive and sustainable growth," Ambassador Pomaleu continued.
Senior officials examined the region's progress and onward challenges towards lowering tariffs and non-tariff barriers to trade, liberalizing high growth services sectors, and enhancing conditions for investment, including infrastructure financing and development.
They also took forward initiatives to enable more people and businesses to take advantage of digitally-driven trade opportunities. Areas of emphasis include widening access to credit and digital networks, skills training, and the development of apps to help match-make potential customers and business partners across borders.
In parallel with this effort, senior officials welcomed the establishment of the APEC Vision Group to help shape the forum's direction beyond 2020 —the region's aspirational target year for realizing free and open trade, as well as investment that has driven APEC over the last quarter century.
A report by the APEC Vision Group Chair to Senior Officials described a wide set of views, taking into account the region's emerging middle class, financial sector risks, technological disruption, and the need for greater inclusive growth.
"APEC Vision Group members shared their views and expertise, and set a constructive tone to commence our ambitious task of developing recommendations regarding a vision that is ambitious, strategic, and practical," explained Peruvian Ambassador Allan Wagner
, the group's chair.
Senior Officials welcomed the first report of the APEC Vision Group. The group will now move forward with an ambitious work program aimed at delivering recommendations to APEC member economies next year.