APEC Transport Ministers concluded their meeting today by issuing the St. Petersburg Ministerial Declaration to help ensure the sustainability and efficiency of supply-chain systems in the Asia-Pacific region.
The APEC Special Transportation Ministerial Meeting was held in St. Petersburg, Russia on Friday under the theme, “Development of Integrated Supply Chains for Innovative Growth in the Asia-Pacific Region.”
The Declaration calls on APEC economies to facilitate sustainable and efficient supply chain systems that enhance cross-border business linkages in the Asia-Pacific region and improve connectivity, in progressing towards innovative growth and regional economic integration—two of APEC’s 2012 priorities.
This includes supporting trade volume growth by working to determine the opportunities for diversification of routes that will make the movement of people and goods easier, safer and faster.
APEC economies also agreed to promote intelligent technologies to enhance supply-chain connectivity. This can increase the efficiency of existing infrastructures.
The goal of APEC economies is to achieve a 10 percent increase in regional supply chain performance by 2015.
APEC Ministers cited the role of supply-chain development in providing economic, energy, food and environmental security in the region and globally, and affirmed the value of boosting liberalization of transport services in enhancing cargo and passenger movement.
“Building an optimal structure for transportation and logistical communications is perceived within APEC as a key factor of integration,” said Maxim Sokolov, Minister of Transport of the Russian Federation.
“In conditions of high economic growth rates, the sustainability and reliability of supply chains is of utmost importance for the economic and food security of the region.”
Transportation continues to be one of the region’s major economic drivers, Sokolov added.
In his remarks, APEC Secretariat Executive Director, Ambassador Muhamad Noor, referred to a study conducted by the APEC Policy Support Unit which found that a 10 percent efficiency gain in supply-chain connectivity would lift the region’s total real GDP by US$21 billion annually.
“The benefits would be substantially higher if behind-the-border increases in supply-chain connectivity were considered,” he said.
The APEC Transportation Working Group’s work this year is focused on the importance of enhancing physical connectivity and integrating markets; facilitating faster, easier and more secure regional travel; and facilitating commerce and promoting economic growth in the region.
Ministers discussed the implementation of the Supply-Chain Connectivity Action Plan, which aims to achieve greater liberalization of transport services and simplifying transportation regulations between APEC members.
The APEC Trade Recovery Program by the APEC Counter-Terrorism Task Force is also significant in establishing a supply-chain network for its communications mechanism for information that will ensure smooth movement of goods in transport disruptions.
“These ongoing efforts lay the groundwork for achieving APEC’s 2012 goals: the creation of a secure environment that fosters the opening of trade and investment and regional economic integration, food security protection and supply chain connectivity,” said Noor.
The results of the APEC Special Transportation Ministerial Meeting will be reported during the 2012 APEC Leaders’ Meeting in Vladivostok on 8-9 September.
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