2014 APEC Economic Leaders’ Week Opens in Beijing
Leaders, Ministers and Senior Officials from the 21 APEC member economies will meet in Beijing over the next week to take forward a series of new measures to reinvigorate trade, productivity and sustainable development, intent on delivering the next generation of Asia-Pacific growth needed to boost prosperity across the region and ensure global economic recovery.
The 2014 APEC Economic Leaders’ Week, hosted by China and chaired by President Xi Jinping, commences on Wednesday under the theme Shaping the Future Through Asia-Pacific Partnership and coincides with the 25th anniversary of APEC’s founding. Actions on the table will center on deepening regional economic integration, promoting economic reform and innovative development, and building infrastructure investment and comprehensive connectivity.
Injecting energy towards the APEC goal of a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), a comprehensive free trade agreement to build on emerging regional undertakings such as the Trans Pacific Partnership and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, is among the priorities. Guided by President Xi, Leaders assembled for the 22nd APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting on 10-11 November will consider a roadmap for achieving an FTAAP.
Ministers at the APEC Ministerial Meeting on 7-8 November, to be co-chaired by China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Commerce Minister Gao Huchang, will shape the roadmap and development of a possible study on FTAAP. They will also decide the next step for reviving global trade given the unexpected challenge to implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement now facing World Trade Organization members and its implications for the “Bali Package” and Doha Round. A briefing from WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo will offer guidance.
Additional focus will be on advancing policies to make it easier, cheaper and faster to do business, improve conditions for research and development and commercial innovation, and tackle sustainability challenges. Li Baodong, China’s Vice Foreign Minister and Chair of the 2014 APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting, will lead coordination between Senior Officials to help round out the details on 5-6 November.
Actions to fight corruption and open opportunities for small businesses to play a larger role in global production chains will be points of emphasis. Facilitating APEC economies’ commitment to reduce tariffs on 54 “environmental goods” to five per cent or less by the end of 2015 to boost trade and green growth as well as further measures to help double the share of renewable energy in the region by 2030 and increase energy efficiency are some others.
A new APEC Protocol on Innovative Reform, Economic Development and Growth is on the table to provide greater direction for such efforts.
Attention will furthermore center on bridging infrastructure and broader connectivity gaps created by rapid development, and the increasing volume of goods, services, people, capital flows between economies. Leaders will consider a new APEC Blueprint on Connectivity—the first ever long-term plan for addressing the region’s massive physical, institutional and people-to-people connectivity needs, with attention to specific targets and timelines.
The 2014 APEC CEO Summit on 9-10 November, which runs alongside the APEC Economic Leaders’ Week, will provide an opportunity for the business community to directly engage with Leaders and Ministers as they advance the region’s priorities. The proceedings will build on policy recommendations offered by the APEC Business Advisory Council, which are based on coordination between APEC economies and the region’s business heads over the past the year.
China last chaired APEC, the world’s largest regional economic group, in 2001. Today, member economies together account for about 40 per cent of the world’s population, half of global trade and 60 percent of total gross domestic product.
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