Government officials from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) called for fostering a more resilient Asia-Pacific as they reiterated their commitment to a free and open trade and investment system in the region by 2020.
The ministers made the call for a more resilient Asia-Pacific region that could “serve as an engine for balanced, sustainable growth with equity and improve global growth” during the 25th APEC Ministerial Meeting held last week in Bali, Indonesia.
“It is fair to say that our 2020 target of free and open trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific is not far from where we are now,” said Gita Wirjawan, Indonesia’s Minister of Trade and co-chair of the meeting.
An APEC written release said the region has made progress toward free trade and investment, which ranges from steps to improve the flow of goods, services and people, to raising support for small businesses, energy security, and infrastructure development and investment,
“I’m particularly pleased by the progress that has been made on an APEC framework on connectivity,” said Marty Natalegawa, Indonesia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and co-chair of the meeting. “This, I believe, will be a milestone to further cement APEC members’ cooperation and regional integration.”
The APEC officials said they will focus on promoting growth that is more inclusive, equitable and fair, and address the region’s need for greater connectivity.
They are also looking at the multilateral trading system and its role in making the Asia-Pacific more prosperous.
“We face a daunting responsibility to ensure the credibility of the multilateral trading system through a successful outcome of the WTO’s 9th Ministerial Conference in December in Bali and subsequently work towards the successful conclusion of the Doha Development Agenda negotiations,” Wirjawan said. “APEC must play a key role by extending strong political support.”