APEC Lays Groundwork For Regional Trade Progress

by Kobakila News

SINGAPORE APEC is moving ahead with cooperative efforts to evaluate and identify initiatives that support freer, faster and more beneficial trade in the Asia-Pacific region.

Concluding its weeklong cluster of meetings on Tuesday, the APEC Committee on Trade and Investment and related policy groups met for the second time this year with a focus on APEC 2012 priorities, specifically to foster regional economic integration in the Asia-Pacific, establish reliable supply chains, expand regulatory convergence and cooperation, and foster innovative growth.

APEC member economies examined mechanisms to better chart their progress toward realizing the goal of free and open trade and investment in the region.

Delegates noted progress on the implementation of the work program on next generation trade and investment issues endorsed last year by APEC Economic Leaders, particularly policies related to innovation and trade, and participation of small and medium size enterprises in global production chains. Officials also considered proposals to identify and address additional growth issues, as instructed by Leaders.

“APEC members clearly remain united in their desire to build on measures that drive forward trade and investment and are critical to bringing our region closer together to power economic activity that spurs more robust, sustainable growth and prosperity,” said Monica Contreras, chair of the APEC Committee on Trade and Investment.

Members also examined how to improve connectivity within the supply-chain by addressing chokepoints, so as to facilitate the flow of trade and services, and reduce transaction costs and delays to benefit economic operators, including small and medium size enterprises that are the backbone of the APEC region’s economies.

Environmental goods and services, whose trade growth is outstripping that of other goods, was also a topic in the committee’s agenda.

“There is still a lot of work to be done, but the progress made in Singapore this week demonstrates APEC economies’ commitment to positively contribute to green growth and sustainable development objectives, Contreras said.

The committee further recognized the importance of engaging the regulatory community and industry as essential to reeling in the challenges associated with growth.

The APEC Committee on Trade and Investment and related dialogues will meet again in Kazan, Russia to review progress ahead of a meeting of APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade on 4-5 June.

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