25 February 2017, Nha Trang City, Khanh Hoa, Viet Nam – Today saw 9 meetings from APEC committees and groups, namely Trade and Investment (CTI), Economic (EC), Food Security (PPFS), Ocean and Fishery (OFWG), Tourism (TWG), Electronic Commerce (ECSG), Alliance for Supply Chain Connectivity (A2C2), Competition Policy and Law (CPLG), and Market Access (MAG).
The PPFS, OFWG and MAG had their first activities of 2017 today.
At the PPFS, delegates discussed actions and measures for moving forward the implementation of the group’s long-term strategies, including the Strategic Framework on Rural – Urban Development to Strengthen Food Security and Quality Growth and the APEC Program on Food Security and Climate Change. These will contribute substantially to advance one of APEC 2017’s priorities which is “Enhancing Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture in Response to Climate Change.” Participants also contributed actively in preparation for a statement to be released during the proposed “High-Level Policy Dialogue on Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture in Response to Climate Change”, to be held in Can Tho City this August.
At the OFWG, member economies discussed their 2017 work plan and updated recent ocean-related developments. New initiatives were also presented at the meeting, including marine debris prevention and management; development of tools of ecological risk assessment of impacts of climate change on fisheries and aquaculture resources; involvement of the business/private sector in sustainability of the marine environment and fisheries business sustainability and livelihood. Established in 2011, the main OFWG’s mission is to support APEC members in promoting sustainable use of fisheries, aquaculture, and marine ecosystem resources and related goods and services. APEC members currently account for over 80 percent of global aquaculture production and more than 65 percent of the world’s capture fisheries. The consumption of fishery products in the APEC region is 65 percent higher than the world average. Moreover, APEC economies represent nine of the top ten fish producers in the world.
MAG’s mandates are to advance and integrate the CTI’s objectives of pursuing free trade and investment, particularly on tariffs and non-tariff measures (NTMs). Delegates at today’s MAG meeting discussed and highlighted APEC contribution to enhancing the multilateral trading system and regional integration, strengthening connectivity and infrastructure development, promoting quality growth, etc. The meeting also approved the agenda for the next MAG’s meeting, to be held this August in Ho Chi Minh City. At the meeting, the Policy Support Unit (PSU) and academics also presented their studies, including those on the impact of NTMs for information technology goods and agricultural products.
The CTI’s Workshop on the Realization of the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) was a platform to engage APEC economies to explore the likely impacts of an FTAAP, and determine challenges to regional economic integration goals and an eventual FTAAP. Workshop speakers also suggested areas of work that APEC economies could implement to support advancement towards an eventual FTAAP. APEC Leaders’ first formal statement with a reference on the FTAAP was made in 2006 at the APEC Leaders’ meeting in Ha Noi. Subsequent APEC Leaders’ Declarations also incorporate instructions for promoting the FTAAP. Last year, APEC Leaders issued the Lima Declaration on FTAAP, which stressed the important role of APEC in shaping and nurturing regional economic integration, including as an incubator of issues related to FTAAP and a contributor to advancing toward the eventual realization of an FTAAP.
The Economic Committee’s Friends of the Chair (FotC) meeting on “Strengthening economic legal infrastructure (SELI)” discussed measures to strengthen regional economic and legal infrastructure, including the possibility of establishing an APEC cooperation framework on online dispute resolution for transactions related to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). International organizations, including the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), the World Bank (WB), International Institute for the Integration of investment law (UNIDROIT), participated and shared their views on relevant issues.
The TWG and ECSG concluded their meetings today. Besides reviewing the implementation of ongoing projects and sharing ideas on proposals for new initiatives, TWG hosted a separate meeting to discuss the preparation for the proposed “High-Level Policy Roundtable on Sustainable Tourism” to be held in Ha Long this June. Meanwhile, the ECSG reviewed the reports on e-commerce trends presented by member economies, the World Economic Forum (WEF) and other international organizations.
The CPLG’s Seminar on “Investigative Powers of Competition Agencies” and EC’s Workshop on “Use of International Instruments to Strengthen Contract Enforcement in Supply Chain Finance for Global Businesses (including MSMEs)” also finished today. Results from both meetings will be reported to the CPLG and EC plenary on the 26 and 27 February respectively.