The 2002 APEC 'Committee on Trade and Investment Annual Report' has been presented to Ministers and Leaders from APEC's 21 member economies in Los Cabos, Mexico.
This annual report outlines the CTI's accomplishments and recommendations on APEC's trade and investment liberalization and facilitation agenda.
Chair of the committee, Ms. Ng Kim Neo, said the CTI had been focused over the past year on implementing the instructions laid down by APEC Leaders in Shanghai last October.
"A key deliverable this year was the development of an APEC Trade Facilitation Action Plan," said Ms. Ng.
The APEC Trade Facilitation Action Plan outlines what all APEC economies and fora are doing or will do in the future to promote the benefits of trade facilitation.
The current objective is to reduce business transaction costs by 5% across the APEC region over the next five years.
The CTI is working in close consultation with the private sector to achieve this 5% reduction in transaction costs. Together we have drawn up a menu of concrete actions and measures that will support an increasingly streamlined, smooth and rapid movement of goods and business people across borders.
"Adoption of this menu of actions will serve to facilitate more efficient business transactions with minimal impediments."
Ms. Ng said some of the measures outlined in the menu draw from the initiatives developed for APEC counter-terrorism activities.
"APEC is committed to the twin counter-terrorism goals of protection of people and economies while at the same time facilitating trade flows," said Ms. Ng.
The measures the CTI has recommended include appropriate techniques to process goods at the border so that potentially harmful cargo is detected, while the movement of legitimate goods can continue.
"This detection process involves the implementation of systems that properly scrutinize high-risk goods while facilitating the movement of low-risk goods."
Ms. Ng said the ultimate winner of the initiatives developed by the CTI are the people of the Asia-Pacific region.
Reducing the costs to trading across borders makes it easier for businesses, particularly the small and medium-sized enterprises, to plan and compete in an open market. A reduction in the impediments to business stimulates greater trade flows and creates growth and employment in the economy.
"It is important that CTI maintains this focus on encouraging an environment that is conducive to greater economic cooperation and making business less complicated."
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