Focus on people and on building consensus, urges Chile – host economy of APEC 2019 – to delegates who are meeting in Santiago this week for the first of the year’s Senior Officials’ Meetings.
Government officials and private sector experts from 21 APEC economies are in Santiago at the foot of the Andes to discuss joint initiatives that strive to foster and accelerate sustainable and inclusive growth in the Asia-Pacific region. Officials from Chile are highlighting its priorities: digital society, Integration 4.0, small and medium enterprises and inclusive growth, and sustainable growth.
“We want to have a people-centered approach. We want to look at the opportunities of the digital revolution as well as the challenges, particularly for those sectors of the economy that are not 100 per cent into the digital revolution, such as small and medium enterprises,” said Mathias Francke, Chair of the Senior Officials Meetings.
Chile is among the world’s most open economies, with 16 free trade agreements with APEC members alone. A regional leader in economic growth and stability, competitiveness, and poverty reduction, Chile seeks to narrow its income gap and broaden opportunities across society. Its adoption of women’s economic empowerment as a priority agenda is the first time that APEC has made this important issue front and center.
With a long history of discussing women’s issues at APEC, “It is time to do something more meaningful,” explained Francke. “It is time for women to have the benefits of trade liberalization,” he added.
Achieving consensus on policy reforms for this agenda and other key issues, however, can be a challenge. To set the stage for stronger collaboration, Chile has prepared a strategy that it describes as ‘back to basics.’
“(We are) looking again into how APEC was conceived as a non-binding discussion and cooperation fora, where we can test ideas about public policy and exchange experiences – that’s very important,” Francke reminded. “We shouldn’t be bringing in our bilateral problems into the fora,” he added.
Ensuring a more “constructive atmosphere,” explained Francke, is Chile’s recipe for achieving “better and strong outcomes at the end of the year.”
The complete APEC SOM1 and Related Meetings schedule in Santiago from 23 February to 8 March can be viewed here.
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