APEC PH agenda fully supported by other countries

MANILA, Philippines – Senior officials from the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation have agreed on the priorities to be pursued by APEC in 2015.

On the final day of the APEC  Informal Senior Officials' Meeting (ISOM) on Tuesday, December 9, Philippine organizers said that APEC member countries backed the Philippines' proposed agenda for the 2015 APEC Summit in Manila.

“Our theme of inclusive growth resonated with them. It's an objective that they themselves saw as necessary to their own economies,” Foreign Undersecretary Laura del Rosario said on Tuesday.

Del Rosario, chair of the APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM), said the attendees of the inaugural meeting in Manila agreed on the 4 points to achieve their goal of inclusive growth: investing in human capital development, building sustainable and resilient communities, enhancing regional economic integrations, and fostering the participation of small and medium enterprises in the regional and global economy.

She also mentioned key points APEC hopes to achieve together in the future which she described as the “nuts and bolts” of what they are working on, among them:

The ISOM was the first of a series of meetings the Philippines will be hosting in the lead up to the APEC 2015 summit.

Steps towards goals

In a statement released Wednesday, December 10, APEC Philippines talked about the ways in which APEC economies have agreed to fulfill their goals.

To enhance regional integration, APEC economies agreed to do the following: 

On developing SMES, APEC plans to address hurdles to “starting a business, getting credit, dealing with permits, enforcing contracts and trading across borders,” and by facilitating “deeper cooperation in areas like  structural reform  and  fighting corruption.”

“Actions will moreover center on promoting SME sector modernization, standards conformance, commercial innovation, global production chain integration and increased value-added trade,” the statement said.

In terms of human capital development, aside from promoting educational exchanges through APEC scholarship and internship initiatives, APEC's focus will also be on “cultivating an APEC-wide women’s entrepreneurship network to drive women-led business growth; training in areas like financial services and internet use; and finalizing  Information Technology Agreement expansion  to widen access to products that support academic and professional development.”

To build sustainable and resilient communities, “APEC will endeavor to  reduce tariffs on 54 environmental goods to 5% or less by the end of 2015 and pursue further steps to  double renewable energy  in the region by 2030, from 2010 levels, cut carbon emissions and raise energy efficiency.”

The statement said initiatives will also “center on improving natural disaster risk reduction, food security and the management of health threats, as well as  implementing APEC’s Connectivity Blueprint and Multi-Year Plan on Infrastructure Investment and Development.”

In her briefing, Del Rosario said more concrete actions on how these will be achieved have yet to be fleshed out.

“They (the APEC economies) themselves will introduce initiatives to make them more concrete...on how they will be done,” she said.

The next meeting will be in Clark Freeport in Pampanga from January 26 to February 7, 2015. – Rappler.com