Visit by Ricardo Lagos, President of the Republic of Chile, To the APEC Secretariat

Singapore, 01 May 2004
  • Speech by Ambassador Mario Artaza, Executive Director, APEC Secretariat
Mr. President
Mr. Minister of Finance
Mr. Senator
Mr. Under Secretary of Foreign Affairs
Ladies and Gentlemen.
It is with great pride that I welcome you to the APEC Secretariat for this very special visit .
We have been honored in the past by visits of Heads of Government, but you Mr. President, are the first Head of State to visit the Secretariat since it was established in 1993.
The presence of you and your delegation here today is a gesture of the great importance Chile is placing on its role as the host economy of the 2004 APEC Year.
The APEC Secretariat will assist Chile with all its capacity in facilitating the ongoing development of the APEC process.
APEC is a unique forum for building bridges between the people and economies of the Asia-Pacific. At the Leaders' meeting, it brings together the most senior political figures from economies representing 2.5 billion people and half of the world's trade. We work across a range of areas that are essential for increasing regional trade and investment, and improving the health of the global economy.
The Economic Leaders' Meeting and the range of APEC Ministerial Meetings are central to this regional political coordination and cooperation. This year there are ten ministerial level meetings taking place. Seven of these meetings are to take place in Chile.
In total there will be more than 75 meetings under the auspices of APEC this year including meetings of Senior Officials, Sub-Committees and Working Groups.
The subject matter to be covered by these meetings includes areas such as trade, customs, intellectual property rights, the mobility of business people, E-commerce, counter terrorism, energy, fisheries and education just to name a few.
At these events experts, business people, government representatives and other interested parties from around the region will meet to develop policy initiatives and strengthen 'networks of knowledge' throughout our region. More importantly, it creates a human network with common goals.
The APEC Chile 2004 theme of: "One Community, Our Future" fully encompasses this concept of networking and sharing of information for the benefit of all.
It is fitting that Chile should highlight our sense of regional community. This is a guiding principle for the work of the Secretariat and APEC fora throughout the year.
As we work towards our goals, in all of our activities the driving force behind the whole APEC Process remains our 21 Member Economies.
APEC works on the basis of 'decentralized functionalism' with the APEC Secretariat operating as its core support mechanism.
In this regard, the Secretariat is also unique. We do have a small infrastructure and a reduced number of staff working at our Secretariat. We have 49 professional, specialist and local staff working here. This dedicated staff provides coordination, technical and advisory support, as well as information management and communications services for the whole APEC process.
Most importantly the Secretariat provides a central project management role assisting APEC Member Economies and APEC fora to oversee more than 200 APEC funded projects.
Mr. President:
We hope that the efforts of the Secretariat here in Singapore will contribute as much as possible in assuring a successful Chile APEC Year. You can be certain that we will continue to do our best to support Chile and the APEC process.
Again, Mr. President and members of the Chile delegation, friends of the Government and representatives of the media, welcome to the APEC Secretariat.
I would like to invite President Lagos to address this conference.
Thank you.