On the eve before Ministers Responsible for Trade meet here in Kazan, APEC Senior Officials endorsed a set of capacity building projects to help support economic progress in the Asia-Pacific region. 

APEC Senior Officials met in Kazan, Russia for the second time this year to stake out a suite of concrete initiatives that seek to cooperatively advance APEC’s 2012 priorities, with the continued expansion of liberalized trade and investment in the region helping to top the agenda.

The priorities include trade and investment liberalization and regional economic integration; food security; supply chains connectivity; and fostering intensive cooperation for innovative growth.

With inputs from the business community, APEC Senior Officials set their sights on tackling next generation trade issues critical to the deepening of trade ties between APEC economies, which account for nearly half of global trade.

“A Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific remains a priority,” said APEC 2012 SOM Chair Igor Morgulov who is Russia’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. “Progress on the next generation areas of supply chain connectivity, small and medium-size enterprises; and integration of competition policy into Free Trade Agreements continues in the right direction.”

“Taking instructions from Leaders, we continue to work on a list of environmental goods for delivery this year,” stated Morgulov.

Offering a view from the private sector, Ziyavudin Magomedov said, “Pathways towards a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific should reflect the principles of inclusiveness, comprehensiveness and transparency.” Magomedov, who is the chair of the APEC Business Advisory Council, addressed senior officials on Saturday.

Senior Officials took the opportunity to review the Kazan Declaration on APEC Food Security, which was issued by Food Ministers last Thursday. They agreed that strengthening food security, an APEC 2012 priority, has particular resonance in the Asia-Pacific which is prone to natural disasters and agricultural shocks.

“Due to the recent world food and financial crisis, the number of hungry people increased by about 200 million people and has reached one billion, a quarter of the APEC region,” said Morgulov.

“Russia will do everything possible to consolidate efforts in order to achieve sustainable food security in the APEC region, and in the whole world,” he continued.

Magomedov, who is also Summa Group’s Chairman of the Board of Directors, proposed that APEC explore multiple pathways to advance food security.

“We recommend facilitating effective dissemination of food-related technologies; identifying and reducing barriers to investment cooperation in agri-food sectors; increasing collaboration and investment in food-related research and development; developing food market infrastructure to minimize food losses; and creating a reliable information system on food production, consumption and stocks,” Magomedov said.

Morgulov underscored the importance of defining innovation policies that information rich environment, boosting production and ensuring economic growth.

“Innovation is the driving force behind APEC’s growth,” he said. “Policies that foster collaboration will encourage high quality growth and practical implementation.”

The results of the 2nd APEC Senior Officials Meeting and the Ministerial Meeting on Food Security, which is being held alongside a cluster of working group meetings, will be reported to Ministers Responsible for Trade on Monday, 4 June 2012.

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For more information, please contact David Hendrickson +65 9371 8901 at drh@apec.org or Michael Chapnick (in Russia) +7 (8) 911 794 36 14 at mc@apec.org.

More details about APEC’s 2012 priorities and initiatives for the year can be found on www.apec.org or www.apec2012.ru.

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