Trade ministers from member economies of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) are convening in Chile, host of APEC 2019, to strengthen regional economic integration, against a backdrop of slowing trade growth.
In the seaside town of Vina del Mar, the ministers focused on ways to fortify collaboration between the 21 Pacific Rim economies, particularly on boosting trade, which for decades motored economic expansion across the region.
Working on the principles of consensus-based, non-binding voluntary dialogue, APEC has successfully encouraged and mobilized more trade, which contributed 45 per cent of regional GDP in 2017. Despite recent trade frictions, the forum continues to engage on economic cooperation in the interest of mutual economic growth.
“Together we have constructed an integration orientated forum, through open and constructive dialog, that has helped underpin economic growth and prosperity in the region,” said Chile’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Roberto Ampuero, who is chairing the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT) meetings.
Chile typifies how APEC membership can facilitate growth. Since joining 25 years ago, Chile’s exports to the Asia Pacific region have grown almost eight hundred percent and generated a million jobs. Today, APEC economies account for 66 per cent of Chile’s total trade and 59 per cent of its foreign investment.
Chile continues to break new ground with its hosting year, elevating for the first time in APEC women’s economic empowerment as a regional priority for action. The other key priority - “digital society” - reflect the evolving global economy.
Illustrating this point, trade ministers will hear from Tingqiao Zhou and Hailong Han from China, the winners of the APEC App Challenge. They will present an app that will connect women entrepreneurs with potential investors.
At the same time, Ampuero reinforced the need for APEC member economies to address emerging disparities resulting from trade policies.
“Our inclusive and sustainable growth priorities are directed as much by the conviction that there are important principles at stake, as they are by our determination to identify new sources of economic growth that puts people, and their future, at the center of our work,” he continued.
APEC Trade Ministers will continue to meet in Vina del Mar, Chile on 18 May 2019.
The complete APEC SOM2 and Ministers Responsible for Trade meetings schedule in Vina del Mar from 3 May to 18 May can be viewed here.
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