25th APEC Summit New drivers for regional economic integration, free, open trade & investment

The 25th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit has committed to attain the Bogor Goals of free and open trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region. In this regard, summit agreed to accelerate efforts to address WTO-inconsistent barriers to trade and investment and take concrete actions towards the achievement of the Bogor Goals by 2020. Therefore, summit noted the importance of non-discriminatory, reciprocal and mutually advantageous trade and investment frameworks.

APEC is a regional economic forum established in 1989 to leverage the growing interdependence of the Asia-Pacific. APEC’s 21 members aim to create greater prosperity for the people of the region by promoting balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure growth and by accelerating regional economic integration.

APEC ensures that goods, services, investment and people move easily across borders. Members facilitate this trade through faster customs procedures at borders; more favorable business climates behind the border; and aligning regulations and standards across the region.

For example, APEC’s initiatives to synchronize regulatory systems are key step to integrating the Asia-Pacific economy. A product can be more easily exported with just one set of common standards across all economies.

A quarter-century after the first APEC Economic Leaders’ summit, APEC has proven to be the premier economic forum in the Asia-Pacific, a driver of economic growth and integration, an incubator of ideas for future economic cooperation, a coordinating mechanism of trade agreements, and a global leader in addressing pressing problems. For nearly three decades, APEC has contributed to sustaining growth and advancing economic integration in the Asia- Pacific region, a process that has created millions of jobs and lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty.

APEC Leaders joined heads at Da Nang, Vietnam from November 06 to11 and agreed to work together to make trade more inclusive, support improved market access opportunities, and address unfair trade practices. The summit called for the removal of market-distorting subsidies and other types of support by governments and related entities. Leaders were committed to carrying out further actions to promote an enabling and conducive environment for investment in the Asia-Pacific region.

The summit was held at a time when the regional and global landscapes had experienced complex and fundamental shifts coupled with the emergence of far-reaching challenges and opportunities. Regional and global economic recovery is on firmer footing, but medium and long-term risks remain. The Fourth Industrial Revolution and advancements in technology are altering the nature of work, transforming our societies and the ways we connect and interact. Trade and investment have brought unprecedented prosperity to the Asia-Pacific region, but serious challenges persist.

Therefore, summit recommitted to common purpose to foster a shared future of a peaceful, stable, dynamic, inter-connected and prosperous Asia-Pacific community and reaffirmed support for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as a framework for inclusive growth. Leaders also reaffirmed long-standing commitment to APEC’s mission of supporting sustainable economic growth and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.

The participants agreed to work together to realize the potential of the internet and digital economy, including through appropriate regulatory and policy frameworks, and taking into account fair competition to encourage investment and innovation.  They welcomed the adoption of the APEC Internet and Digital Economy Roadmap and the APEC Framework on Cross-border E-commerce Facilitation and announced to consider actions to facilitate the development of the internet and digital economy including e-commerce and digital trade.

They were committed to further actions to increase APEC’s competitiveness in the services sector by 2025 and intensifying our efforts to address barriers that inhibit our businesses from competing or trading in services markets.

They reaffirmed commitment to advance in a comprehensive and systematic manner, the process towards the eventual realization of an FTAAP to further APEC’s regional economic integration agenda and commended the efforts of economies to advance work related to the eventual realization of an FTAAP, including capacity building initiatives and information sharing mechanism. APEC leaders encouraged economies to make further progress and to develop work programs to enhance APEC economies’ ability to participate in high quality, comprehensive free trade agreement negotiations in the future.

They welcomed the entry into force of the WTO. Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) and call for its full implementation, recognizing that it helps bring about meaningful and widespread benefits for all economies and businesses and committed to work with other members of the WTO towards a successful 11th WTO Ministerial Conference.

The summit underlined APEC’s crucial role in support of a rules-based, free, open, fair, transparent, and inclusive multilateral trading system and committed to work together to improve the functioning of the WTO, including its negotiating, monitoring, and dispute settlement functions, to adequately address challenges facing the system, bringing benefits to all of our people and businesses. They announced to work to ensure the effective and timely enforcement of the WTO rules.

Leaders noted the importance of bilateral, regional and multilateral agreements, and commit to working to ensure they complement the multilateral trade agreements and would strive for a climate conducive to investment and job creation. APEC summit also reiterated to work to ensure a level playing field through continuing APEC’s leadership in pursuing open markets. They recalled the pledge to extend their standstill commitment until the end of 2020 and recommit to fight protectionism, including all unfair trade practices, recognizing the role of legitimate trade defence instruments.

The participants reaffirmed commitment to build a seamless and comprehensively connected and integrated Asia-Pacific by 2025. In this regard, they welcomed economies’ efforts in promoting cooperation to advance policy collaboration, trade facilitation, connectivity, financing, and people-to-people exchanges.

Leaders reiterated the importance of quality infrastructure for sustainable economic growth and pledge to promote infrastructure in terms of both quantity and quality through adequate investment and strengthened public-private partnership. They encouraged further collaboration and synergy among various connectivity initiatives and work on advancing economic development and integration of sub-regional, rural and remote areas in the region, including efforts to develop safe, secure, resilient, efficient, affordable and sustainable transportation system.

The summit further, underlined the need to develop policies that take full advantage of global value chains and encouraged further actions to enable better participation, greater value added and upward mobility of developing economies and MSMEs in GVCs. Leaders appreciated initiatives such as Asia-Pacific Model E-port Network and APEC Green Supply Chain Network and their positive contribution to supply chain connectivity.

They committed to promote sustainable tourism, and explore its potential for development in remote areas as an important part of APEC economic growth strategies and enhanced people-to-people connectivity as they were determined to reach the target of 800 million APEC tourist arrivals by 2025. Leaders expressd concern over the growing threat of terrorism in the APEC region, which stems from ISIL, Al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations, and is exacerbated by the cross-border travel of foreign terrorist fighters and emerging sources and channels of terrorist financing.

APEC economies commit to continually and effectively respond to the terrorist challenges in the region and their economic impact, as guided by APEC’s strategy to secure supply chains, travel, finance, and infrastructure.

As the Asia-Pacific is highly exposed to natural disasters, there was a commitment to strengthen cooperation with all stakeholders along with the private sector to enhance resilience to disasters through effective mitigation, preparedness, disaster risk reduction, response and recovery efforts.

This includes advancement in policy, innovation, science and technology, business continuity planning, early warning systems, and search and rescue. Further, the importance of financial instruments and policies against disaster risks.

APEC summit looked forward was underlined to intensifying efforts to achieve free and open trade and investment in the region by 2020 and setting a strategic, aspirational and action-oriented vision for its future. Leaders reaffirmed enduring commitment to underwrite dynamism, inclusiveness and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region and to build a responsive, responsible and people- and business- centered APEC toward a shared future resilient to challenges and accountable to its businesses, workers and people.

Leaders pledged to uphold the Asia-Pacific partnership based on mutual respect and trust, inclusiveness and mutually beneficial cooperation and recognized APEC’s contribution towards achieving sustainable development. They further encouraged the participation of relevant stakeholders in APEC cooperation so that cooperation achievements can benefit larger population across the Asia-Pacific.

They remained committed to carrying out further concerted actions to maintain APEC as a key driver of regional and global economic growth and integration and a major contributor to the regional economic architecture and welcomed members’ initiatives that promote trade and investment in the region.

In an increasingly interconnected world, summit pledged to enhance synergy and complementarities with other regional and international institutions and fora. Leaders welcomed the establishment of the APEC Vision Group to assist senior officials in shaping the post-2020 vision, including through consultations with relevant stakeholders. This vision would build upon past achievements, address unfinished business, and explore new areas of cooperation to better respond to new and emerging challenges and pressing issues in the coming decades.

Summit highlighted the importance and welcome the contribution of capacity building efforts by member economies. In this regard, we note with appreciation new initiatives, including the establishment of the Women and the Economy Sub-fund, and encourage more contributions, especially untied contributions.Leaders looked forward to meeting again in Papua New Guinea in 2018.

The Da Nang joint declaration said that APEC Leaders gathered for summit under the theme Creating New Dynamism, Fostering a Shared Future were determined to take bolder and sustained collective actions to inject new dynamism into APEC cooperation to promote sustainable, innovative and inclusive growth, deepen regional economic integration, realize the full potential of the business sector, particularly micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), and enhance food security and sustainable agriculture.

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