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1995 APEC Regional Science and Technology Cooperation Ministerial Meeting

Beijing, People's Republic of China | 04 - 05 October 1995
1. For the first time in APEC's history, Ministers responsible for science and technology (S&T) from Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, People's Republic of China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, the Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand and the United States of America, gathered in Beijing, China, from 5-6 October 1995, to discuss how to advance the process of cooperation in science and technology amongst the member economies.
2. The conference was opened by President Jiang Zemin, People's Republic of China. President Jiang expressed China's warm welcome to the Ministers. He noted the importance of science and technology in furthering the goal of enhanced economic cooperation and meeting challenges confronting the APEC region. He commented that this inaugural S&T Ministers' Conference was a direct response to the initiatives stated in the APEC Leaders' Declaration of Common Resolve, at Bogor, Indonesia, in November 1994. President Jiang Zemin called for efforts in strengthening S&T cooperation under APEC framework and also expressed the commitment of the Chinese Government to contribute to push forward international S&T cooperation for the region's common prosperity.
3. The conference was chaired by Dr. Song Jian, State Councillor and Minister of the State Science and Technology Commission of China. In his opening remarks, Dr. Song briefed the conference on the Chinese experience in science and technology development and requested APEC member economies to adopt farsighted strategies for effective science and technology cooperation.
4. The Ministers' discussion addressed :
  • a shared policy outlook for developing policies and approaches to enhance economic and technical cooperation in the area of science and technology;
  • themes for science and technology cooperation, with specific focus on:
  • improved flows of information on science and technology;
  • improved researcher exchange and human resources development;
  • improved transparency of regulatory frameworks; and,
  • facilitation of joint research projects;
  • an Action Program for Industrial Science and Technology; and,
  • a joint communiqué establishing the results of their conference.
5. In their discussions, Ministers were guided by the 1994 Bogor Declaration of Common Resolve which pledged to find cooperative solutions to the challenges of rapidly changing regional and global economies. They noted the beneficial impact of trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, and the significant contribution of science and technology cooperation towards sustainable economic growth. Ministers agreed that support for science and technology should advance the goals of: building robust and competitive economies in the region; promoting environmental quality and sustainable use of natural resources; improving the quality of life, human health and development, and knowledge; and fostering improved private/business sector exchanges and interaction in technology cooperation.
6. To assist in reaching these goals, Ministers agreed on the following principles:
  • There should be equal opportunities for all parties to join in regional multilateral research collaboration programs;
  • Contributions to and benefits from collaboration should be balanced and reflect members' capabilities;
  • Collaborative projects should encourage complementary and collaborative public and private sector investments in the development and diffusion of technologies;
  • Collaborative activities should ensure, wherever possible, the active participation of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs);
  • Collaborative activities should be implemented throughout the full innovation cycle from basic research to pre-competitive research and development;
  • A consistent and transparent approach should be adopted to standards and standard-setting activities; and,
  • Collaborative activities should ensure that any intellectual property rights are protected and that the results and commercial benefits are allocated fairly.
  • Ministers entrusted the Working Group on Industrial Science and Technology (WGIST) to continue its work on science and technology policy and program discussion and information sharing, acknowledging that this is an essential element of furthering understanding in the region.
7. Ministers elaborated on the potential role that science, technology, and research could play in advancing economic performance of their economies. The Ministers agreed that four themes should guide their future efforts in this regard. They indicated that they were impressed with the depth and range of specific proposals submitted by individual member economies, and expressed their satisfaction that many of the proposals supported the 1993 Blake Island APEC Leaders Economic Vision Statement which united the commitment of the economies to create a stable, prosperous and sustainable growth future for our people.
THEME I : Improved flows of information, science and technology

Ministers noted that dissemination of information on science and technology is critical for promoting economic growth and technological innovation in their economies. They emphasized that it is particularly important to ensure that technological information and technology flows provide direct and tangible benefits to the private/business sector, including SMEs, which they recognized as significant engines of economic growth. Ministers expressed satisfaction with the coherency of the several project proposals from member economies that suggested concrete ways to: improve research linkages in the region amongst researchers, policy analysts and scientific and technical organizations; establish science and technology data bases, and technology forecasting and review systems, to fuel industrial performance; foster centres of excellence and joint research facilities throughout the region; develop networks that would assist industry in developing technology partnerships by strengthening the infrastructure of information gathering; and, demonstrate applications of information technology that would establish best practices for improved science, technology and research infrastructure linkages in the region. The Ministers entrusted the WGIST to continue its work in bringing to fruition concrete projects and symposiums, to improve the flow of information on science and technology. Ministers welcomed the increased collaboration of the WGIST with the Science and Technology Task Force of the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council.

THEME II : Improved researcher exchange and human resources development
Ministers noted that the progress of science and technology depends on talented science and technology personnel. Researcher exchanges and human resources development activities are essential to enhanced technological and industrial innovation in the Asia-Pacific region. Ministers believe that specific strategies in APEC should focus on education and training needs, and expansion of researcher exchanges, including consideration of improved visa arrangements where needed, complementing the work of the APEC HRD Working Group and the APEC Committee on Trade and Investment. Ministers were pleased that the economies were working towards realizing projects that would increase researcher exchanges, promote public awareness for S&T, and facilitate industrial technology education and research manpower training. Ministers entrusted the WGIST to work with member economies having specific initiatives designed to encourage human resources development activities of benefit to the Asia-Pacific region.
THEME III : Improved transparency of regulatory frameworks
Ministers remarked that clear and transparent regulatory frameworks of member economies benefit the flows of technology and expertise and are critical to improving sustainable economic growth and technological innovation in the region. Ministers indicated that they appreciated the efforts of the economies to enhance understanding within the Asia-Pacific region of their respective regulatory regimes by exchanging information and views, and compiling reports and analyses. Ministers entrusted the WGIST to continue a focused review on improving the relationships between regulatory regimes and industrial science and technology cooperation within the region, in cooperation with other APEC bodies such as the Standards and Conformance Sub-Committee.
THEME IV: Facilitation of joint research projects
Ministers recognized the importance of undertaking joint research projects among the economies that provides a basis for longer term benefits for overall regional economic performance. They acknowledged that science and technology research, and technology development, are increasingly complex and costly, and require application of the shared policy outlook and principles stated above. Enhanced cooperation amongst member economies, involving governments, enterprises, institutes and universities, can speed the solution of common problems facing the economies. Ministers welcomed the efforts of individual economies to put forward cooperative research project proposals in areas that had the potential to bring benefits to their populations, as indicated by the list of proposals attached. It was noted that the list especially included proposals on alleviating the impacts of natural disasters, and improving the sustainability of terrestrial, atmospheric and aquatic environments. Ministers agreed that the focus of research projects, proposed by member economies, on disaster prevention and mitigation, and environmental initiatives, was a useful step towards enhancing science and technology research cooperation in the region. Ministers entrusted the WGIST to work with individual member economies in further developing these proposals with a view to achieving solid research results for their future consideration.
8. Draft Action Program for Industrial Science and Technology
Ministers endorsed the Draft Action Program for Industrial Science and Technology which is to be incorporated into the Osaka Action Agenda. The Action Program is composed of three sections: Common Policy Concepts, Joint Activities, and Dialogue on member economies' policies/activities. It shows the basic direction of cooperation and specific actions on industrial science and technology. The Ministers asked the WGIST to devote further attention to developing achievable project time frames and specific activities. The Ministers urged the WGIST to implement its Action Program in a timely manner and, through their individual member economies, to report back on its progress.
9. Ministers noted the value of achieving significant progress on a few key areas before the next meeting in Seoul. They trusted that early progress would be made in: the development of knowledge networks and flows through all means including electronic linkages and exchanges of scientific and technical personnel in the APEC region; human resource development; and the development of collaborative projects to address, in particular, environmental sustainability and regional natural disaster mitigation. Ministers agreed that proposing economies would take the lead in these areas and report progress to Ministers at their next meeting. These priorities would also be reported to the Leaders' Conference in Osaka in the context of the overall Action Program and Communiqué.
10. In closing the conference, the Chair, Dr Song Jian, noted that Ministers had agreed that, in principle, it would be desirable to have further ministerial conferences and welcomed the offer from Republic of Korea to host the 2nd conference in late 1996.