APEC Ministers opened their two-day meeting on Friday in Bali by assessing member economies’ progress towards fostering a more resilient Asia-Pacific that can serve as an engine for balanced, sustainable growth with equity and improve global growth.
“When we began our chairmanship of APEC in January this year, in the midst of global economic turmoil, we recognized that in the face of deep regional and global challenges and opportunities, we would need to walk that extra mile,” said Marty Natalegawa, Indonesia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Co-Chair of the 25th APEC Ministerial Meeting.
This directed the focus of APEC economies on ensuring the success of the Bogor Goals which call for the delivery of free and open trade and investment in the region by 2020. It also turned the region’s attention to strengthening efforts to propel growth that is more inclusive, equitable and fair, and address the region’s need for greater connectivity.
Areas of progress range from steps to improve the flow of goods, services and people, to raising support for small businesses, energy security and infrastructure development and investment.
“I’m particularly pleased by the progress that has been made on an APEC framework on connectivity,” exclaimed Natalegawa. “This, I believe, will be a milestone to further cement APEC members’ cooperation and regional integration.”
Ministers also considered the multilateral trading system, and its role in making the Asia Pacific more prosperous.
“It is fair to say that our 2020 target of free and open trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific is not far from where we are now,” stated Gita Wirjawan, Indonesia’s Minister of Trade and Co-Chair of the 25th APEC Ministerial Meeting.
“This year, we worked on the issues of ensuring the equitable benefits from liberalization,” he explained. “The aim of this exercise is to focus on reducing economic disparities among economies and improving the economic and social well-being of our people.”
“We face a daunting responsibility to ensure the credibility of the multilateral trading system through a successful outcome of the WTO’s 9th Ministerial Conference in December in Bali and subsequently work towards the successful conclusion of the Doha Development Agenda negotiations,” Wirjawan added. “APEC must play a key role by extending strong political support.”
During the meeting, Roberto Azevedo, the Director-General of the World Trade Organization, briefed Ministers on the state of international trade in the current global economy and described specific areas in which APEC economies can support current negotiations. They also heard recommendations from the APEC Businesss Advisory Council on further steps member economies can take to improve the landscape for doing business in the region.
“I’m confident that we will have a positive and constructive discussion tomorrow,” Wirjawan concluded. “I believe that this year’s deliverables could be considered as yet another milestone for APEC’s future work which contributes to world economic growth, job creation, integration and most importantly, prosperity enjoyed by all.”
APEC Ministers will continue to meet on Friday, 5 October 2013.
Photos from the meeting will be made available at http://www.apec.org/Press/Photos.aspx
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