APEC Senior Officials have concluded a timely cluster of trade and sectoral meetings in Port Moresby with signs of momentum towards addressing near and long-term challenges heading into a set of pivotal Minister-level meetings.
Providing calm and constructive dialogue in the face of global frictions over trade, officials worked to establish areas of common ground for advancing APEC’s target of free and open trade and investment in the region by 2020 – known as the Bogor Goals – and post-2020 vision.
“We are crafting a new agenda for post-2020 and at the same time ensuring that we find ways to enhance the completion of unfinished business,” noted Ambassador Ivan Pomaleu, Chair of APEC’s Senior Officials this year.
“Making the vision relevant ensures that it can address trade and investment challenges,” he continued. "This is in keeping with the true spirit of APEC’s commitment to inclusiveness and ensuring that no one is left behind.”
Officials recognized the challenging policy landscape and fleshed out ways to uphold progress achieved in APEC to reduce tariffs and other bottlenecks to trade at and behind borders, improve the investment environment and open up opportunities for large and small businesses in the region.
“We have made progress but it would also be fair to say that progress has slowed down and in some cases not progressed at all,” Ambassador Pomaleu acknowledged. “With the target date of 2020 still two years away, APEC member economies should re-double their efforts to ensure that we complete unfinished business.”
“There are of course emerging challenges which must rise to the fore of the new vision. These may include the digital economy, inclusivity and sustainable development - and a huge focus needs to be placed on gender and the integration of women in the economy.”
APEC Mining Ministers will take these issues forward when they meet in Port Moresby on Thursday, confronting investment challenges within the industry brought by tariff, trade and technological disruptions as well as barriers to innovation-driven mining growth and inclusive development.
It will be followed by the APEC Women and the Economy Forum here in September to address barriers to greater women’s entrepreneurship and participation in the digital economy.
The APEC Finance Ministers’ Meeting will take place in October to address issues such as financial inclusion and infrastructure financing vital to digital development in Papua New Guinea and the region.
It will all lead up to the APEC Economic Leaders’ Week in November.