APEC boosts regional integration, connectivity and sustainability
Jakarta (ANTARA) – Senior officials from 21 member economies have advanced APEC’s work to reinvigorate regional economic integration, reconnect the region and ensure the sustainability of future growth, in line with the theme of APEC 2022″ Open, Connect, Balance”.
At the first APEC Senior Officials Meeting in 2022, member economies deliberated on approaches to refreshing discussions on the post-pandemic Asia-Pacific Free Trade Area (FTAAP), the reopening of safe and seamless travel in the region, as well as exploring the bio-circular-green (BCG) economy model, as stated in a statement issued by the APEC Secretariat and received here on Monday.
“Over the past few years, member economies have worked hard to advance our work on the FTAAP,” said APEC 2022 Senior Officials Meeting Chair Thani Thongphakdi.
“While differences in positions on this issue persist, I believe there are opportunities for cooperation, given the changing landscape and emerging challenges, especially the COVID-19 pandemic,” Thongphakdi said. who simultaneously serves as Thailand’s permanent foreign secretary.
He stressed that the sustainability of work on regional economic integration and next generation issues, such as health, environment, sustainability and digital economy, should be taken into account.
APEC Trade and Investment Committee to lead discussions on FTAAP and COVID-19, with a dedicated session scheduled for March 15, and a public-private dialogue on the sidelines of the meeting of ministers responsible for trade of APEC in May 2022, in collaboration with the APEC Business Advisory Council.
APEC members reiterated the importance of trade in furthering economic recovery, stressing their strong support for the role of the multilateral trading system, with the World Trade Organization (WTO) at its center.
“APEC can build momentum for substantial and meaningful outcomes from the postponed 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) to June, including on issues of trade and health, environment, agriculture, food subsidies fisheries and WTO reform,” Thani explained.
Member economies also called for continued and intensified efforts to improve the APEC services sector through the use of digital technologies and the APEC Services Competitiveness Roadmap, as well as continuation of discussions on environmental goods and services.
According to a report by the APEC Policy Support Unit, APEC’s share of total global services exports declined from 38.8% in 2016 to 38.1% in 2019, which means that APEC has slowed its trajectory and needs to rapidly increase services exports if it is to increase its global share of services exports by 2025.
Services are essential for most economies, as they provide the bulk of economic output and employment. APEC must build momentum to ensure an open and predictable environment for services market access.
To advance APEC’s sustainability agenda, Thani outlined goals that will support the promotion of economic policies that complement global efforts to address environmental challenges.
Thani added that APEC’s mechanisms for fostering sustainability were decentralized.
“These BCG economics-driven goals are intended to provide the entry point to move this agenda forward in an integrated and holistic manner,” he emphasized.
APEC senior officials concluded their first meeting of the year and will meet again in May 2022 in Bangkok, Thailand.
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