Within an open and competitive market framework, the concepts of quality growth and human development support the continuity, sustainability and legitimacy of APEC’s core work, and help drive the next frontier of growth in the Asia-Pacific region, said the Chair of the APEC Senior Officials during a dialogue with the private sector in San Francisco.

Acknowledging the downside risk for the Asia-Pacific in view of a regional economic forecast, Ambassador Luis Quesada described the priorities for 2016 to the APEC Business Advisory Council who are meeting in the home to the world’s leading technology hub. He discussed what APEC Senior Officials expect for the outomes of this year and explained how ABAC could help ensure delivery of ambitious and commercially relevant outcomes by taking the opportunity to ask for private sector input into the policymaking process. Recognising the integral role of business, ABAC was established to provide private sector advice on key issues to to APEC members.

Senior officials acknowledged that the region’s economy is less robust than what it was 6 months ago due to commodity prices that remain under pressure. The region is vulnerable to externalites related the EU crisis and strains in some large emerging market economies that have lead to a tightening in financial markets. Falling oil prices are hurting energy producers in several economies, but ultimately will assist energy importers. Despite these challenges, the region’s economy is forecast to grow, albeit at a slower rate than what was forecast last year.

“Quality growth is really about supporting balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative, and secure growth across the region, through investments in education, technology, services and innovation that drive social and economic progress,” Quesada when he explained the APEC 2016 to stakeholders here. “And human development, on the other hand, goes beyond growth measured exclusively in uantitative terms, incorporating broader considerations of social and environmental progress and sustainability.”

Ambassador Quesada called on the business community to support APEC economies in submitting ambitious and commercially relevant reforms to help drive the region’s next era of quality growth.

“This year, APEC economies will submit their respective individual action plans outlining their structural reform plans through to 2020,” said Quesada. “Many of the most needed structural reforms will require the input and support from the private sector to identify and remove impediments to trade, improve regulations and unlock new sources of growth.”

Open well-functioning, transparent and competitive food markets are essential to regional food security, allowing food to move where it is needed and thereby ensuring access to a broad, predictable, continuous and sufficient supply of safe and nutritious food at affordable prices. 

Quesada requested the busines community to provide a catalogue of the most onerous non-tariff barriers for food products in the Asia – Pacific. In this context, he asked ABAC for its input on how to address trade restrictions to unlock new growth potential for food producers – most of which are SMEs.

“I would encourage you to have the draft catalogue ready for consideration by economies by August to ensure we have time to digest its implications, discuss possible responses at the Policy Partnership on Food Security meeting and seek ministerial endorsement at the Food Security Ministerial Meeting,” he said.

With a large number of high tech companies participating, the Ad Hoc Steering Group on the Internet Economy convened to discuss issues related to the Internet and digital economy and propose cooperative activities, projects and initiatives. In particular, they looked at an analysis of how services trade and investment is being impacted by new technologies.

“I invite you all to support member economies’ active participation in APEC’s services roadmap discussions this year to help drive the next phase of quality growth in the region,” Quesada concluded.

At the conclusion of a cluster of policy meetings held in Lima over the last two weeks, APEC Senior Officials will meet on 3-4 March to prioritize the agenda in preparation for the Leaders’ Meeting in November. 

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For further details, or to arrange possible media interviews with APEC officials, please contact:

David Hendrickson (in Lima) +65 9137 3886 at drh@apec.org

Michael Chapnick (in San Francisco) +65 9647 4847 at mc@apec.org

More on APEC meetings, events, projects and publications can be found on www.apec.org. You can also follow APEC on Twitter and join us on Facebook and LinkedIn.

during the first APEC Business Advisory Council meeting in San Francsico, home to the world’s leading tech hub