Senior Officials Meeting 3: One step closer to the
post-2020 vision for APEC
10 Sep 2018
Senior Government Officials from the 21 APEC member economies were recently in
Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea for the Third Senior Officials Meeting (SOM 3) for 2018.
APEC Business Advisory Council Members at ABAC meeting in Kula Lumpur, Malaysia
Senior Government Officials from the 21 APEC member economies were recently in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea for the Third Senior Officials Meeting (SOM 3) for 2018, with the aim of addressing emerging trade and growth challenges within the region and identifying clear pathways forward with respect to a number of policy areas.
This cluster of trade and sectoral meetings were highly successful with Senior Officials from APEC Economies discussing the need for free and open trade and investment throughout the Asia Pacific region. Much discussion surrounded the need for strong planning and strategizing in developing a post-2020 vision for APEC that promotes sustainable development and inclusive growth.
The Senior Officials who gathered for SOM 3 recognised that the trade policy landscape has undoubtedly changed and is continuing to pose challenges to the multilateral trading system (MTS). In fact, PNG APEC Ambassador, Ivan Pomaleu noted that; “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.” Pomaleu added that “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.”
As mentioned the regional trade landscape is rapidly changing and these meetings serve a vital purpose of building capacity within the region, unpacking complex issues and outlining best practices and policy recommendations.
Through the APEC fora (especially through the APEC SOM) economies are given an opportunity to interact to better understand the challenges faced by regional counterparts, and adopt practices learnt.
It also provides an environment for industry and academia to provide their perspective to government on how best to develop regulatory frameworks that generate strong and sustainable growth throughout the region.
An example of this includes a recent Private Public Dialogue (PPD) which was hosted by the APEC Group on Services (GOS) and the APEC Committee on Trade and Investment (CTI). The dialogue aimed to enhance understanding of the new cross-border services business opportunities available. The event brought together APEC government officials, industry leaders, academia and non-government representatives to identify challenges, share experiences of dealing with the related structural disruptions in services sectors and to decipher some of the policy leavers that can be utilised to develop regulatory paths forward.
There was much discussion around the development and harmonisation of international standards, ways in which policy can support and encourage trade facilitation using new technologies while promoting regulatory transparency and cooperation.
While the main spotlight will be focused on the lead up to the APEC Economic Leaders’ Week in November, to be hosted at the impressive APEC Haus in Port Moresby, SOM 3 has reminded senior officials that the clock is ticking and target date of 2020 is rapidly approaching.