Why food security is important to APEC

In order for the benefits of free and open trade to be experienced throughout the region, food quality, availability and cost are critical. To this end, APEC has been a vehicle for cooperation on food and agricultural issues and is well-positioned to address current and emerging food security challenges in the region.

How APEC addresses food security

APEC addresses food security by promoting productivity and growth in the agricultural sector, encouraging the development and adoption of new agricultural technologies and enabling regional food trade:

  • Agricultural productivity and growth: This includes initiatives that foster investment and finance in the agricultural sector (including micro-finance); raise awareness of environmentally sustainable agricultural methods (including land management, organic farming and use of advanced technologies); help economies to learn about food storage, processing and management methods to allow more food to reach more people without spoiling; help members to build well-functioning markets and regulatory frameworks for sustaining robust agricultural sectors; improve surveillance and control of pests and diseases that harm agricultural production; foster improvements in worker health and safety, agricultural inspection and agricultural education and training.
  • Food trade: This includes support for the successful conclusion of the World Trade Organisation Doha Development Agenda negotiations; encouraging lower food export restrictions to avoid prolonging pressure on global food prices and discouraging agricultural investment for greater production; examining the impact of economic liberalisation of agriculture with the goal of assisting regional economies to better adapt and to thrive in the global marketplace for food; exchanging best practices to develop better policies for fostering healthy agricultural sectors; helping to ensure that food products traded in the region are safe for consumption (including initiatives to enhance regulatory, inspection and certification systems, strengthening of technical and human resources, encouraging adoption of international food safety standards and promotion of regional communication on food safety).
  • Development and adoption of new agricultural technologies: This includes efforts to improve farmers' income and productive capacities through agricultural technology transfer and training (including exchange of best practices and identification of strategies to increase fiscal returns); create an environment conducive to agricultural research and development as well as investment in trade technology; and foster development of agricultural biotechnology (including the development of regulatory frameworks and strengthening public confidence in the field).

Groups through which APEC achieves these goals
APEC advances regional dialogue and cooperation on a range of food and agriculture related issues through several groups and initiatives within the APEC structures, including:
  • Agriculture Technical Cooperation Working Group: This group facilitates cooperation to enhance agriculture's contribution to the region's economic growth and social well-being. This is achieved through the sharing of technical expertise and experience in issues ranging from finance and investment to pest and disease control.
  • High-Level Policy Dialogue on Agricultural Biotechnology: This forum brings together representatives from public and private sectors to discuss biotechnology policy issues and to promote the use of crops developed through biotechnology.
  • Sub-committee on Standards and Conformance: A subgroup of the Committee on Trade and Investment, the SCSC is the focal point for efforts to harmonise regional standards regarding the safety of food and consumer products. It oversees the Food Safety Cooperation Forum which manages food safety work among various APEC groups.
  • Ocean and Fisheries Group: APEC economies account for 70 percent of global consumption of fish products and 90 percent of global aquaculture production. The OFWG facilitates cooperation to promote the sustainability and vitality of the fishing aquaculture industries, including the implementation of best practices and the expansion of the seafood trade.
  • APEC Food System: Originally proposed by the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), this initiative seeks to establish a comprehensive strategy to address food issues in APEC, based on principles of fostering development and growth of the rural sector, increasing trade in agriculture and promoting the development and dissemination of technological advances.
  • Policy Partnership on Food Security (PPFS): Formed in 2011 as the primary forum for discussing issues related to food security, the partnership brings together individuals from the private and public sector to help facilitate investment, liberalize trade and market access and support sustainable development.