APEC Ministerial Chair’s Statement
15th November 2018
Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
- The Statement of The Chair reflects the chair’s assessment of the prevailing views of all APEC member economies as expressed during discussions at the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting held in Port Moresby. Most economies agreed to the following text, while a small number had alternative or additional views on paragraphs 7, 8, 9, 10, and 16.
- We, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Ministers, met in Port Moresby on 15th November 2018 under the chairmanship of Honourable Rimbink Pato, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade for Papua New Guinea.
- We welcome the participation of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC), the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), and the APEC Secretariat.
- On the occasion of our 30th Joint Ministerial Meeting, we recognise that amidst the efforts and progress in driving growth in the region, and a continued robust regional economic outlook, there are more pronounced risks and uncertainties, including barriers to trade. We ought to be cognizant of these challenges, and explore ways to deal with them both regionally and globally.
- We reaffirm our commitment to address these challenges and work towards achieving APEC’s goal of free and open trade and investment in the region. We further reiterate our commitment to support balanced, inclusive sustainable, innovative and secure economic growth and prosperity in the region to ensure that the benefits are shared broadly, and no one is left behind.
- Under the theme of “Harnessing Inclusive Opportunities, Embracing the Digital Future”, we focused this year on our vision for driving economic prosperity through creating new opportunities that are inclusive and beneficial to the region with deliberate emphasis on digitalization. Our growth story was pursued through three priorities: Improving Connectivity, Deepening Regional Economic Integration; Promoting Sustainable and Inclusive Growth; and, Strengthening Inclusive Growth through Structural Reforms.
World Trade Organisation
- We recognise the importance of working toward achieving free and open markets and the significance of international trade and investment in delivering prosperity for our people. We reaffirm the importance of trade liberalisation and facilitation in achieving sustainable global economic growth and creating jobs in our economies. We support a well-functioning WTO that provides a transparent, and non-discriminatory framework for progressive trade liberalisation and its contribution to promote world trade, based on rules agreed upon by its members.
- In order to improve the functioning of the WTO and to deliver for all its members, we commit to work together to improve its negotiating, monitoring and dispute settlement functions. We also encourage APEC economies to increase their participation in the WTO to advance its work. We also support necessary reform of the WTO in order to improve and strengthen it to better address existing and emerging global trade challenges. We agree to fight protectionism including all unfair trade practices.
- We reaffirm the importance of the WTO’s trade monitoring work and call on all WTO members to improve adherence to WTO rules. We note the progress of APEC economies in implementing the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation (TFA). We welcome further APEC capacity building activities, including those that support implementation of transparency-related obligations, to support economies’ implementation of the TFA in cooperation with relevant stakeholders.
- We agree to work together towards concluding negotiations on fisheries subsidies by the end of 2019 and continuing work under the Work Programme on E-commerce as agreed at the 11th Ministerial Conference. We note efforts by participating economies to advance discussions on initiatives on E-commerce, investment facilitation, services domestic regulation, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), and trade and women’s economic empowerment. In light of the importance of digital trade to the prosperity of the region, we encourage participating economies to actively engage in ongoing efforts in the WTO. We acknowledge the efforts by economies to progress work and initiatives in APEC related to WTO decisions, including on the elimination of export subsidies in agriculture and in promoting transparency through the improvement of WTO’s sanitary and phytosanitary notifications.
- We note the contribution of the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) and its expansion to promote APEC’s digital economy work, and encourage economies to join in such initiatives.
Progressing the Bogor Goals
- We reiterate our commitment to attaining the Bogor Goals of free and open trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region through both collective and individual efforts. We welcome the completion of the 2018 Bogor Goals Progress Report and urge all economies to take more concrete actions towards attaining the Bogor Goals by 2020.
- We reiterate our commitment to developing a strategic, forward looking, and ambitious post-2020 vision that will position APEC to better address 21st Century challenges and opportunities for member economies and our people. We welcome the discussions on the post 2020 vision and note the progress on the ongoing work of the APEC Vision Group (AVG).
Support for APEC 2018 Priorities
Priority 1: Improving Connectivity, Deepening Regional Economic Integration
- We reaffirm that APEC’s agenda on deepening regional economic integration plays an important role. We recognise that our economies can grow stronger together, and our people can become more prosperous through the ever-deeper connections between our 21 economies.
- We remain steadfast in our commitment to the full implementation of the APEC Connectivity Blueprint by strengthening physical, institutional, and people‐to‐people connectivity, and by taking other concrete actions and meeting targets by 2025 in order to achieve a seamless and integrated Asia Pacific.
- We also reaffirm the importance of quality infrastructure and development for sustainable economic growth and pledge to promote infrastructure both in terms of quantity and quality, in accordance with sustainable financing practices, as well as through adequate investment and strengthened public-private partnerships. We encourage approaches that facilitate project transparency and ensure timely access to qualitative and quantitative project information. We welcome the revision of the APEC Guidebook on Quality of Infrastructure Development and investment (the Guidebook) and the completion of the APEC Guideline for Quality of Water Infrastructure. We encourage member economies to utilize the Guidebook and to implement the Peer Review and Capacity Building on APEC Infrastructure.
- We encourage further collaboration and synergy among various connectivity initiatives to work on advancing economic development through the integration of sub-regional, rural and remote areas in the region, including efforts to develop open, accessible, safe, secure, resilient, efficient, affordable, quality and sustainable transportation systems that, where practical, aim to connect more fully with ICT and energy systems. We welcome the Case Studies on Addressing Connectivity Challenges in APEC Economies and the work on bridging the gap in economic development and integration of remote areas for sustainable growth including the results of the Policy Support Unit (PSU) study.
- Recalling APEC’s vision for a Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP), we welcome progress to date on efforts to implement the Lima Declaration and urge further progress on issues identified by economies in order to enhance APEC economies’ ability to participate in high quality, comprehensive free trade agreements in the future. We recall the APEC Economic Leaders’ instruction for officials to report progress to Leaders in 2020.
- We welcome the progressive trade liberalisation and the removal of barriers to trade and investment throughout the APEC region through the negotiations of trade agreements. We welcome the entry into force of those agreements, and substantial progress in ongoing negotiations.
- We endorse the Cross-Cutting Principles on Non-Tariff Measures (Annex A) as a valuable tool to address non-tariff barriers in the APEC region.We further welcome initiatives undertaken under the Information Sharing Mechanism on Regional Trade Agreements/Free Trade Agreements (RTAs/FTAs) and the ongoing work in implementing the 3rd Regional Economic Integration (REI) Capacity Building Needs Initiative (CBNI) consistent with the Lima Declaration.
Internet and Digital Economy including ICTs
- We re-affirm our commitment to implement the APEC Internet and Digital Economy Roadmap in a comprehensive manner and instruct officials to finalize existing initiatives, as well as develop new initiatives to progress work on the digital economy. We are committed to bridging the digital divide, including through expanded and affordable broadband access, building updigital capacity and competencies for all, and creating an environment to foster the digital economy. We also encourage improving access to the digital economy and the use of new technologies which we recognize contributes to economic development and poverty alleviation in the region.
- We support the continued work on the development of information and communications technologies (ICT) infrastructure and services to promote inclusive growth and drive innovation through improving access to the digital economy.We acknowledge the importance of trust and security in the use of ICTs and commit to work together to develop an open, accessible, reliable, secure and resilient ICT environment. Therefore, we look forward to the finalization of an APEC Framework for Securing the Digital Economy.
- We call for continued dialogue on relevant legislation and policies to promote transparency, regulatory cooperation and coherence in the digital economy. We support policy and regulatory frameworks that protect privacy and consumer rights and promote interoperability in rules and regulations, whilst creating a favourable environment for the digital economy.
- We emphasize the importance of enabling the free flow of information and data, recognizing legitimate domestic public policy objectives. We note the progress to expand participation in the APEC Cross-Border Privacy Rules, a voluntary mechanism whose participants seek expansion of participation. We encourage enhanced understanding and cooperation in this area including through capacity building, as appropriate.
- We reaffirm our commitment to implement the APEC Cross Border E-commerce Facilitation Framework. We encourage economies to identify and reduce unjustified barriers to e-commerce and digital trade, and instruct officials to finalize the building blocks to facilitate digital trade and to advance studies to better understand the digital economy including the state of data – utilizing businesses, as well as encourage economies to advance new and existing initiatives including those that increase MSME competitiveness in cross border trade. We therefore welcome the Survey on E-commerce Regulations in APEC to encourage transparency in rules and regulations. We also encourage economies to constructively engage and support discussions in international fora including the WTO.
Intellectual Property Rights
- We uphold our commitment to fostering cooperation in the area of intellectual property rights, which serve as a catalyst for creativity and innovation. We welcome collaboration among relevant stakeholders in relation to protection and enforcement, as well as capacity-building initiatives, including cross-fora collaboration, on border enforcement against trademark infringing goods.
- We reiterate our commitment to promoting intellectual property rights through policies and programs that support and advance innovation, creativity, and commercialization for development and growth, and with respect to innovation in the digital economy to increase economic benefits.
- We encourage economies to make further progress in implementing the commitment to reduce tariffs to five percent or less on the 54 products in APEC’s List of Environmental Goods and urge economies that have yet to fulfil this commitment to do so as soon as possible. We welcome the interim review of the Environmental Services Action Plan and instruct officials to implement the recommended action agenda.
- We also welcome the ongoing work on the Green Supply Chain Cooperation Network and other initiatives in this area and instruct officials to progress implementation of these initiatives.
- We recognise investment as a key driver of economic growth and job creation in the Asia Pacific region, including through creating new opportunities, especially for MSMEs. We encourage economies to continue joint work through policies and investment dialogues through capacity building including community engagement to communicate the benefits of investment, and work related to sustainable and inclusive policies. We encourage economies to take measures to improve investment flows and explore further areas of possible regional cooperation.
- We support the work on advancing the investment aspects of Next Generation Trade and Investment issues (NGeTI), promoting inclusive business, investment in services, the Investment Facilitation Action Plan (IFAP), international investment principles and practices and addressing issues in international investment agreements, all of which will help improve the investment climate in the Asia Pacific region.
Next Generation Trade and Investment Issues
- As we move forward into the 21st Century, it remains important that APEC continues to address next generation trade and investment issues.In this regard, we welcome the 2018 interim review of the Manufacturing-Related Services Action Plan and encourage economies to continue work in this area.We encourage officials to continue to explore new next generation trade and investment issues.
Global Value Chain Cooperation
- We welcome the progress towards completing the APEC Trade in Value Added (TiVA) Database and its integration into the WTO-OECD TiVA Database by the end of the year. The database demonstrates a significant milestone on economies’ cooperation on statistics and will serve as an effective tool in understanding the impact of global production networks in economies and the development of policies to improve opportunities for businesses to participate in the global economy. We note the Summary Report on Measurement of APEC TiVA under GVCs.
- We recognise the importance of improving the competitiveness of the services sector and reducing barriers to trade in services and support initiatives that promote cooperation, liberalisation and transparency. We commit to intensifying our efforts to address barriers that prevent our businesses from competing or trading in services markets on a non-discriminatory basis and therefore, we welcome the APEC Non- Binding Principles for Domestic Regulation of the Services Sector.
- We reiterate our support for advancing work in services through continued implementation of individual economy and APEC-wide actions to achieve the objectives of the APEC Services Competitiveness Roadmap. We also welcome the work towards developing an Index for Measuring the Regulatory Environment of Services Trade in APEC region which aims to provide up-to-date and comprehensive data in APEC economies and to conduct seamless cross-economy analysis within APEC, and also with non-APEC economies. We instruct officials to expeditiously progress further work on services and encourage capacity building to support the collective implementation of these actions.
Customs Procedures and Trade Facilitation
- We welcome APEC’s efforts in the area of Customs Procedures as a contribution to trade facilitation in the region. We commend efforts to improve supply chain connectivity and efficiency to promote increased participation in trade.We note the Stock-take of Initiatives for the Supply Chain Connectivity Framework Action Plan (SCFAP) Phase II (2017-2020) and acknowledge the progress of work to address the chokepoints identified in SCFAP Phase II, including the outcomes of the PSU Study on Single Window Systems’ International Interoperability.
- We welcome the progress of the Asia-Pacific Model E-Port Network (APMEN) and its updated terms of reference. We further encourage economies to enhance cooperation and capacity building in this area.
- We encourage further efforts to strengthen work in trade facilitation through building on existing work streams, including on simplification of documents and procedures and transparency through the APEC Trade Repository, and through further capacity building.
Standards and Conformance
- We support the continuing work to strengthen standards and conformance infrastructure and promote innovation. We commend the efforts to enhance good regulatory practices in the APEC region and encourage additional initiatives to improve transparency, through consulting with relevant agencies and affected stakeholders and conducting regulatory impact assessment, where appropriate.
Food Safety Cooperation
- We also commend the efforts of the Food Safety Cooperation Forum and its Partnership Training Institute Network to promote regulatory frameworks harmonized with science-based international standards, improve food safety, and ensure predictability and transparency in the trade in food and agriculture products and to build capacity and confidence, ultimately reducing non-tariff barriers. In this regard, we note the contributions of the Wine Regulatory Forum, including the successful implementation of the APEC Model Wine Certificate. We also welcome the information on shared analytical technologies to address issues of food safety.
Regulatory Coherence and Cooperation
- We recognise the importance of regulatory coherence and cooperation, and encourage economies to share best practices in this area, and cultivate open and competitive markets. We call for closer cooperation between government and the private sector in developing regulatory and policy processes.
- We also note the initiative for understanding non-tariff measures on agriculture, forestry, and fisheries sectors to enhance rural development and poverty alleviation.
Priority 2: Promoting Sustainable and Inclusive Growth
- We recognise that APEC’s agenda on sustainability and inclusion remains crucial to our economies’ approach to economic growth. This is reflected in many areas of APEC’s work, and we direct officials to continue to develop and implement initiatives to achieve sustainable and inclusive growth. We recognise that APEC’s work can have a positive effect on achieving economic prosperity, raising living standards, and lifting people out of poverty. We note the potential for our work to positively impact all segments of our populations, including disadvantaged groups. We welcome economies’ efforts in this regard, which strongly resonates with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Human Resources Development
- We acknowledge efforts by APEC member economies to take advantage of the technological advancements and the digital age to improve the quality of education, including in remote and rural areas, and prepare our people to adapt to the future of work. We also encourage economies to invest more in skills across various levels of education and training, especially in Technical and Vocational Education and Training and supporting lifelong learning and upskilling and reskilling for those already in employment. We reassert our support for the APEC Skills Development Capacity Building Alliance project.
- We acknowledge that collaboration with the private sector is necessary to ensure that education and training meets industry needs and delivers an effective, progressive and productive workforce. We recognise the role that qualification recognition can play in facilitating skilled and professional labour mobility within the region. To this end, when considering domestic policies, we encourage economies to continue implementation of the APEC Framework on Human Resources Development in the Digital Age.
- We consider people-centred approaches to health and healthcare important to sustainable and inclusive growth. We support ongoing work under the Healthy Asia-Pacific 2020 Initiative. We welcome the outcomes of the 8th High Level Meeting on Health and Economy including the re-commitment to the principles of the Alma-Ata Declaration on Primary Health Care.
- We support work on enhancing preparedness and response to public health emergencies and disasters, and strengthening health systems. We welcome the Port Moresby Statement to End Tuberculosis (TB) through Multi-sectoral Response (2018) presented to the United Nations (UN) High-Level Meeting on TB by member economies, and we look forward to the End TB Collaboration Framework and the work on Anti-Microbial Resistance.
- We recognise the growing burden of non-communicable diseases in the region, and emphasise the importance of an integrated approach for prevention and treatment. We acknowledge and support ongoing work on Mental Health, Cervical Cancer, and Rare Diseases.
- We support work on developing principles for improving transparency and stakeholder consultations in the health and life sciences sector. We also welcome the action plan for addressing barriers to health care services for populations especially those affected by rare and preventable diseases and the work on developing alternative financing mechanisms to support greater access to health care in the region through collaboration with all relevant stakeholders.
- We reaffirm our goal to advance convergence on regulatory approval procedures for medical products. We welcome the identification of performance indicators and look forward to tracking these indicators across all member economies.We recognise the magnitude and impact of substandard and falsified medicines and other medical products especially with the constant international movement of goods. We call for closer collaboration among stakeholders to strengthen information sharing processes and infrastructure to improve prevention, detection and response to product quality and supply chain security issues within the global medical product supply chain.
Women and the Economy
- We recognise the critical importance of women’s contributions to economic growth, and sustainable development and commit to promoting women’s economic empowerment, gender equality and inclusion in the APEC region. The expansion of the digital economy provides a vital pathway for women to fully participate in the global economy. We emphasise the need to pursue an environment where women and girls are free from all forms of discrimination and violence and promote an enabling environment that facilitates equal opportunities for women and girls to actively and fully engage in the economy. We encourage economies to focus on promoting increased women’s participation in growth industries, particularly those industries where women are under-represented. We also recognise the importance of improving women led MSMEs access to finance, technology and capacity-building and welcome new initiatives in this area.
- We are committed to tackling discriminatory barriers that impede women and girls from attaining equal pay for equal work and pursuing opportunities for employment, entrepreneurship, training and education, innovation, access to markets, and financial services. We welcome APEC Business Efficiency and Success Target Award (APEC BEST Award) for women-entrepreneurs. We recognise the Women and the Economy Dashboard as an important source of data to inform decision making in APEC on women’s economic empowerment, and we welcome the 2018 updates by the PSU.
Emergency Preparedness and Disaster
- We continue to promote disaster resilience by exchanging information on disaster risk communication methods and strategies to enhance knowledge and improve the efficiency and coverage of multi-hazard risk assessments and early warning systems, search and rescue, as well as encouraging research on the application of technology for disaster early warning and response.
Sustainable and Inclusive Mining
- We note the outcomes of the 6th Ministers Responsible for Mining Meeting which underscored how transformative technological advances combined with the appropriate structural and regulatory reforms, can help economies manage next generation growth and mitigate emerging challenges in the mining sector. We acknowledge that APEC should continue to be a platform for collaborative work on mining issues, includingwith the private sector.
Sustainable and Inclusive Tourism
- We support the commitment of the 10th APEC Tourism Ministerial Meeting (TMM) to harness sustainable and inclusive tourism in the digital age. We recognise the economic significance of tourism, as illustrated in the State of APEC Tourism Report, in terms of regional cooperation, trade, MSME support, job creation, skills enhancement, innovation, and the development of ICT.
- We note the APEC Guidelines for Tourism Stakeholders endorsed by the 10th TMM and recognise that they are founded on the values of sustainability, inclusivity, respect, responsibility, openness, innovation and partnership.
Forestry and Wildlife
- We remain committed to our efforts in combating illegal logging and promoting the trade of legally harvested forest products through capacity building initiatives, development of appropriate policies and digital and other technologies. We acknowledge continued efforts by APEC and relevant stakeholders including the private sector to address illegal logging and strengthen sustainable and legal forest products supply chains and further encourage increased collaborative efforts by all. To this end we support enhancing focused policy discussions and we call on economies to expedite completion of their Timber Legality Guidance document. We also emphasize the importance of strengthening our efforts and increasing cooperation among member economies in combating wildlife trafficking.
- In working towards achieving regional economic integration and the overarching pillars of APEC, our economies will collaborate to develop safe, secure, resilient, efficient and sustainable transport systems. We support work to accelerate innovation in the transport sector to achieve inclusive mobility and global supply chain resilience. We agree to promote comprehensive and seamless connectivity through transport systems, and enriched human resources capacity, including through increasing women’s employment in transport. We welcome the progress made by the APEC Port Services Network (APSN) to strengthen supply chain connectivity and sustainability.
Supporting Persons with Disabilities
- We acknowledge the vital importance of the contributions persons with disabilities can make to the economy. However, we recognise that their talents often remain untapped and their exclusion from the economy results in significant economic losses. To this end, we reaffirm our commitment to reduce barriers that prevent persons with disabilities from equal access to high quality, inclusive education and employment opportunities. We encourage member economies to assess the effectiveness of their laws, policies and programs to facilitate inclusive and equal opportunities.
Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs)
- We welcome the outcomes of the Mid-term Review of the Boracay Action Agenda to Globalize MSMEs and the annual stock take for 2018 and urge further efforts towards its implementation.
- We acknowledge the importance of MSMEs’ integration into Global Value Chains (GVCs) in services industries and note the Compendium on Methodologies for SMEs Internationalization through the participation of economies. We will continue our efforts in promoting entrepreneurship and innovation amongst MSMEs, fostering MSMEs capacity building and participation in E-commerce and Online-to-Offline business model. We encourage activities and initiatives that promote the implementation of APEC Strategy for Green, Sustainable and Innovative MSMEs and the APEC initiative on Promoting Innovative Start-Ups. We urge third parties to join the effort to promote ethical business practices which are crucial to the sustainable growth of MSMEs.
Circular Economy and Sustainable Materials Management
- We recognise the importance of exploring and promoting strategies to foster economic growth while ensuring environmental sustainability. We welcome additional APEC work to advance sustainable materials management and work related to the circular economy, and green economy. We invite economies to explore ways to adapt and integrate these innovative economic strategies in order for MSMEs to more effectively participate in GVCs.
Enhancing Food Security and Sustainable Fisheries
- We will continue to implement the APEC Food Security Roadmap 2020 focusing on sustainable development of the agricultural and fisheries sectors. We further encourage the implementation of the Food Security and Climate Change Multi-Year Action Plan 2018-2020. We encourage sustainable and productive food systems, including sustainable aquaculture, that efficiently utilise resources such as water resources and fisheries waste. Improving resilience, adaptation and productivity of food systems contributes to protecting and conserving the environment and mitigates the effects of natural disasters and climate change.
- We encourage the promotion of best practices on connectivity for food value chains to increase agricultural productivity and market access. We also support agricultural innovation and technical cooperation, including among others biotechnology, and regulatory cooperation as tools to enhance productivity, raise farm incomes, protect the environment, improve climate resiliency of food systems, benefit consumers, and strengthen food security. We also encourage economies to reduce trade distorting measures, including non-tariff barriers, that can promote unsustainable practices. We attach great importance to reduce food losses and waste for sustainable APEC food system.
- We recognize the negative impacts on food security and fisheries trade from Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing in the Asia Pacific region, and fisheries subsidies that contribute to IUU fishing, which undermines our efforts towards sustainable management of fisheries and marine resources. We believe it is crucial to strengthen policy and technical cooperation to improve sustainable use of natural resources while securing long term food supply, including taking appropriate actions to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing.
- We underscore our commitment to increasing the participation and improving the status of women in the agriculture and fisheries sectors and welcome the outcomes of the Dialogue on Women in Agriculture and Fisheries to focus on empowering women and addressing barriers to women’s participation in these sectors.
Marine Debris Management
- We recognize that marine debris and inadequate sea and land-based management are challenges that have significant environmental, economic and social costs to our region. We call on member economies to take concrete action to improve liquid and solid waste management systems to mitigate and manage the negative impact of marine debris. We also encourage economies to increase regional and international cooperation to comprehensively reduce and prevent marine debris. We value the progress made by member economies to address marine debris with relevant activities, including Marine Sustainable Development Report II, which will be finalized next year.
- We recognise the importance of energy connectivity and the contribution of energy-related trade in the Asia Pacific region to enhance energy security and stimulate regional economic growth and development. We encourage member economies to create favourable conditions for energy-related trade and investment, including supporting a diversified, flexible, and integrated natural gas market in the Asia Pacific region.
- We continue to strive for clean, affordable, sustainable and secure energy systems. We welcome member economies’ efforts to reduce aggregate energy intensity, pursue resilient energy development, and accelerate cleaner energy deployment through renewables, cleaner and more efficient fossil fuels, hydrogen and nuclear energy for interested economies, adhering to nuclear safety, security, and peaceful use.
- We encourage economies to strengthen coordination and cooperation through analysing energy data, sharing best practices, conducting peer reviews, pursing energy smart and low carbon communities, and fostering innovation.
- We welcome the updated APEC Consolidated Counter-Terrorism and Secure Trade Strategy for 2018 – 2022, and commit to continue implementing the Strategy by taking collective and individual actions to promote the security and resilience of regional supply chains, travel, finance, and critical infrastructure, as well as soft targets from terrorism to achieve secure growth.
- We reaffirm our commitments to prevent and combat corruption domestically and globally, to ensure transparency, and to effectively implement the UN Convention against Corruption, the Beijing Declaration on Fighting Corruption and other APEC commitments to combat corruption.
- We acknowledge that tackling corruption requires collaboration and a holistic and comprehensive approach. In this regard, we are committed to strengthening cooperation and promoting cross-border coordination on denying safe haven to those engaged in corruption, including through the extradition of corrupt officials, combating foreign bribery,as well as on the tracing, freezing, confiscating, recovery and return of the proceeds of corruption. We commit to do so through existing multilateral networks, including the APEC Network of Anti-Corruption Authorities and Law Enforcement Agencies (ACT-NET). We also commit to criminalize the bribery of foreign public officials and actively enforcing those laws, applicable in the respective economies.
- We remain cognizant of the equal importance of our efforts to prevent corruption, promote transparency and good governance, and strengthen the rule of law. We will continue our efforts in this regard through focused technical cooperation and capacity building.
- We recognise that a healthy, sustainable, accessible and people-oriented urbanization process creates new opportunities and revitalizes inclusive and innovative growth. We encourage member economies to share best practices, experience and lessons on sustainable urban development. We welcome the 2018 APEC Urbanization Forum in support of the Ningbo Initiative.
Science, Technology and Innovation
- We are committed to promoting innovative and accessible, science, technology and innovation within the region that can benefit all of our economies, including creating inclusive science, technology, engineering and mathematics education and career opportunities for women and disadvantaged groups. We encourage business, academia, government and civil society to develop an enabling environment and strong partnerships to promote lifelong learning to foster and apply new technologies and innovations to the challenges of an aging society. We encourage the utilisation and coordination of APEC Centres, and cooperation and promotion of earth and marine observing capabilities that address food security, water security, and coastal hazards. We welcome efforts on sharing current practices and raising awareness on challenges of new and emerging technology markets, sustainable mining, technology commercialisation, and exploring innovation cluster collaboration.
Priority 3: Strengthening Inclusive Growth through Structural Reform
- We continue to acknowledge the essential role of structural reform in removing the structural and regulatory obstacles that inhibit cross-border trade and investment and in promoting balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure growth. Structural reforms can create more open, well-functioning, transparent and competitive markets, and deepen participation in those markets by all segments of society.Thus, we acknowledge that undertaking structural reforms is key to reducing inequality, stimulating economic growth, and narrowing gender gaps.
- We welcome the 2018 APEC Economic Policy Report (AEPR) on Structural Reform and Infrastructure which encourages member economies to develop efficient long-term infrastructure planning processes and highlights a menu of structural policies for promoting quality infrastructure. We instruct officials to continue strengthening cross-fora collaboration on infrastructure and structural reform. We welcome and endorse the topic ‘Structural Reform and the Digital Economy’ for the 2019 AEPR.
- We reiterate our support for ongoing work on structural reforms in the areas of Good Regulatory Practices (GRP), Ease of Doing Business (EoDB), Public e-Services, Strengthening Economic Legal Infrastructure, Competition Policy, and Corporate and Public Sector Governance agendas. We support greater use of international instruments to strengthen economic legal infrastructure, and welcome efforts on online dispute resolution.
- We welcome continued efforts to promote good regulatory practices and in particular, focus on regulatory reform in the digital age. We encourage economies to advance international regulatory cooperation and to collaborate through sharing experiences and capacity building.
- We remain committed to the implementation of the Renewed APEC Agenda for Structural Reform (RAASR) through economies’ Individual Action Plans, and call on member economies to take concrete steps to implement actions identified in their Plans. We welcome the RAASR Mid-term Review and the outcomes of the High-Level Structural Reform Officials' Meeting, which explored ways to improve the RAASR process, and future structural reform, including how it can contribute to APEC’s post-2020 agenda.
- We welcome the progress achieved to date on Phase II of the EoDB initiative towards reaching a target of 10% improvement across the five priority areas for the period 2016-2018, and note that in 2019 APEC plans to consider next steps on this body of work.
Strengthening APEC as an Institution
- We welcome continued deliberation and efforts aimed at improving and streamlining APEC and its governance to ensure its effectiveness, relevance, responsiveness, and accountability, while ensuring continuity of its core agenda. We emphasise the importance of cross-fora collaboration within APEC and encourage outreach and collaboration with the business community and other stakeholders.
- We welcome the APEC Guidelines of Drafting of Ministerial Statements and Leaders’ Declaration to help future hosts manage the drafting process.
- We welcome the 2018 APEC SOM Chair's Report and endorse the Committee on Trade and Investment Annual Report to Ministers, and take note of the 2018 Report of the APEC Secretariat Executive Director. We approve the 2019 APEC Secretariat Account Budget and corresponding level of 2019 Members' Contributions.
- We welcome the successful selection and appointment of the new Executive Director of the APEC Secretariat, Dr. Rebecca Fatima Sta. Maria. At the same time, we thank the outgoing Executive Director, Dr. Alan Bollard, for his outstanding contribution during his tenure.
- We welcome preparations for APEC 2019 in Chile and look forward to continuing our important work.