Senior officials of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation met in Jakarta, Indonesia, this week to formulate proposals to boost regional economic integration through enhanced free trade, sustainable growth, and improved connectivity.
The body of proposals will form the foundation for the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting to be held in Bali in October.
Yuri Thamrin, chair of the APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting, said a more focused discussion on the non-tariff measures and barriers that hinder free and open trade and investment is necessary.
“A more connected Asia-Pacific will assist the flow of goods, services, capital, and skilled people in the region,” said Thamrin. “With actions taken in 2013, APEC will improve its quality of growth and strengthen regional economic integration by connecting the region’s growth centers.”
To support infrastructure development and investment, the officials said APEC will identify solutions to the barriers that exist and develop guidelines covering the key stages of the project cycle. APEC executive director Alan Bollard confirmed that a number of Asian banks see big opportunities for project financing in the region and are starting to develop resources for that, but it is a long process.
Officials also agreed to advance a development agenda for sustainable growth that pushes equity goals for the people.
To overcome supply chain impediments, complexities in production bases, and disruptions to trade, APEC will seek a mechanism to provide international support to economies affected by emergencies.
“Effective and timely delivery of disaster relief by facilitating travel for emergency responders will help the region not only save lives but also contributes to a resilient Asia Pacific as the center of the global growth,” Thamrin said.
The senior officials will meet next in Surabaya, Indonesia, which will precede the Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting in April.
Photo courtesy of APEC