APEC Senior Officials have concluded their Third Meeting for 2006 with consensus on a number of issues that will be presented for endorsement by APEC Ministers and Leaders in November.
Senior Officials reviewed reports from the Chairs of APEC Committees who discussed the progress in preparing their annual reports to APEC Ministers.
APEC's Committee on Trade and Investment (CTI) presented a number of issues including a review of sub-fora, and consideration of how these might be reformed to better assist APEC to realize its free trade and investment goals. Senior officials also discussed APEC's work on intellectual property rights, life sciences, technology choice principles, RTAs/FTAs and an upcoming Trade Facilitation Action Plan Report. The CTI will now finalize recommendations in the "2006 CTI Annual Report to Ministers" for presentation in November.
Senior Officials also considered the role of Regional Trade Arrangements and Free Trade Agreements (RTAs and FTAs) in relation to APEC's free trade and investment goals and the series of model measures being developed for economies to use as a guide in the process of negotiating RTAs and FTAs. These measures, which are intended to cover most potential FTA chapters, seek to improve the quality and transparency of RTAs and FTAs and will be presented to APEC Ministers in November 2006.
Member Economies also adopted templates to assess the implementation of APEC Transparency Standards and agreed to complete them by the meeting of APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade next year.
The APEC Secretariat also provided information on the timeline for the review of several Member Economies' progress to achieve APEC's core free trade and investment goals. In 2007 Australia, Hong Kong China, Japan, Chinese Taipei, China, Korea and New Zealand will have their progress assessed through an independent study and then face a review of this progress by other APEC Member Economies. Senior Officials endorsed the proposed timeline.
The APEC Economic Committee (EC) also updated Senior Officials on its 2006 activities that include progress on its structural reform agenda. Outcomes of the 2006 EC Work Program include an APEC Economic Policy Report covering structural reform activities in APEC and sustainable development, as well as a project on socio-economic disparity in the region.
The APEC Economic Policy Report is the result of the EC's decision in 2006 not to continue with the preparation of the annual APEC Economic Outlook in its current form, but to refocus the publication on issues more related to structural reform.
The APEC SOM Committee on Economic and Technical Cooperation (SCE) also presented Senior Officials with an update on progress. Important issues for the SCE have included assessing options to streamline APEC's capacity building work by merging fora covering areas of similar activity. The SCE also updated its priorities in work areas include the development of human capital, strengthening economic infrastructure and strengthening the dynamism of Small and Medium Enterprises.
The chairs of APEC Task Forces on Counter Terrorism, Emergency Preparedness, Health Security and Anti-Corruption also presented updates on their work and sought endorsement for future projects.
Senior Officials were pleased with the results of the Public and Private Dialogue on Anti-corruption and Ensuring Transparency in Business Transactions. Steps are being taken in APEC to integrate a public-private sector approach to fight corruption, increase transparency and reduce transaction costs.
Other APEC groups seeking endorsement of new activities in projects in areas that include gender, agricultural biotechnology, electronic commerce and customs also presented details of their work plans.
APEC Senior Officials will meet again in November in the days before the 18th APEC Ministerial Meeting that will then be followed by the 14th APEC Economic Leaders Meeting.
The Meeting schedule is as follows: 12-13 November APEC Concluding Senior Officials Meeting
14-16 November Meeting of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC)
15-16 November 18th APEC Joint Ministerial Meeting
17-19 November APEC CEO Summit
18-19 November 14th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting
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