Apec trade officials to meet in Port Moresby
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN — Trade and sectoral officials from the 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) member economies are convening in Port Moresby in a bid to ease friction over trade in favor of policies that support shared inclusive growth objectives.
The Apec Secretariat said that consultations taking place there, over the course of two weeks, aim to foster alignment on barriers to trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific at a policy-making level and strengthen action towards opening digital opportunities for people in all areas of the region.
The proceedings will feed a key policy meeting of Apec senior officials on August 19-20, helping to determine the scope for potential breakthroughs when Ministers and Leaders meet in Port Moresby over the ensuring weeks.
The Secretariat also released comments from 2018 Chair of Apec senior officials Ambassador Ivan Pomaleu who said, “Obviously, economies have to deal with their specific interests and we can understand that. At the same time, it matters most to be able to get decision-makers to recognize that the growth and resilience of the region depends on certain compromises taking place.
“It’s still important for us to recognize there are diverging points of view but to also look at what APEC can do to bring views together and to address issues that can drive growth and trade and investment in the region,” Ambassador Pomaleu added. “APEC as a body continues to hold itself out as the champion of bringing those discussions into focus.”
Issues in the spotlight will include tariff and non-tariff barriers, and ways to build resiliency within vulnerable sectors—including during a Mining Ministers’ meeting on August 23. Attention will also center on enhancing the technical underpinnings of next generation trade agreements and growth such as services regulation, digital infrastructure and data privacy regimes.
It was shared that parallel emphasis will be on facilitating the availability and application of new technologies in priority areas needed to boost job creation and living standards for more people around the Asia-Pacific. They range from food production and healthcare to greater small business participation in trade and disaster resilience.
The press release also includes comments from Apec Secretariat Executive Director Dr Alan Bollard. “We’ve had more announcements about tariffs and the possibility of non-tariff barriers. Whether or not you say we’re in trade frictions or even a trade war, it’s certainly a more difficult position than Apec’s found itself in for quite a long time.
“We’ll certainly be talking about trade frictions – How to avoid them getting worse, how to turn back the clock and try and move away from the quite risky positions that we look like we’re heading towards,” Dr Bollard said.
“And how to ensure that there’s still a lot of scope for big growth in trade around the regional economic environment because it’s helped so many people in the past and a lot of economies want to get a lot more from that in the future too.”
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