Priorities for APEC Chile 2019
Chile as host economy of APEC 2019 has chosen four priority areas to achieve concrete deliverables in 2019. These priorities will be worked on throughout the APEC Chile year and were presented to APEC economies in December 2018 at the Informal Meeting of High Representatives (ISOM), which was the beginning of the Forum's Chilean presidency.
The rapid evolution of the Internet and the digital economy impacts all areas of APEC’s work, including infrastructure, regulatory frameworks, trade rules, human capital development and the future of labor. Chile will use the digital economy to drive the democratization of participation based on APEC’s current efforts, which include the “Internet and Digital Economy Roadmap” and the results of the new governance APEC agreed upon in 2018. We will implement a plan of action that offers short-term “gains” and sets the foundation for more challenging long-term progress.
In this context, we will work to improve the quality and coverage of telecommunications infrastructure and to create shared regulatory principles that improve electronic and digital trade flows by designing cross-border digital trade standards. Technological processes demand changes and adjustments to the education and labor system; we will work on incorporating ways to harness opportunities that arise. Moreover, we will develop a methodology for producing harmonized data on APEC economies. Scholars, companies, the technical community and all digital development stakeholders will work together on all these initiatives in order to incorporate this vision into the forum’s work.
Physical, institutional, and people to people connectivity are instrumental for trade, and many efforts are in place in APEC and other fora to advance it. However, connectivity is a means to an end — integration. Integration 4.0 is the foundation for the 4th industrial revolution, which anticipates a digitalized world with adjusted perceptions of time and space. Unlike the first generation of twentieth century tariff-centric reciprocal agreements, based on preferential treatment, this next generation calls for a new era of trade policy and regional integration, which aims to reduce frictions and facilitate movement at the border, across the border, and behind the border.
In this context, we will focus on the next generation issues of Integration 4.0 such as Trade facilitation, customs-coordination, border management automation, regulatory convergence, participation in global value chains (GVCs), people and knowledge mobility, and investments in infrastructure. We will develop fundamental platforms for promotion of GVCs, Single Window Interoperability, regional skills mobility and Authorized Economic Operator programs, and international regulatory cooperation. All of these elements are essential in progressing a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific.
Women, SMES and Inclusive Growth
We know that increasing the participation of women in the economy is critical: It is one of the key factors in reducing poverty and ensuring that the population shares the benefits of growth. As a region, we still face great challenges, particularly reducing the labor market divide, in terms of access and opportunities. We will work devising strategies to attract, retain and promote talented women in industries traditionally dominated by men, like mining, transportations and energy; guide our efforts to close the digital divide which prevents women from fully participating in trade and increase attention, and encourage economies to collect and use data about the extent of gender equality within the workplace. To this end, we will work towards an Action Plan that contributes decisively to the economic empowerment of women in the region.
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are the engines of growth and innovation in the APEC Region. SMEs account for over 97% of all business and employ over half of the workforce across APEC economies. They contribute significantly to economic growth, with their share of GDP ranging from 20 to 50% in most APEC economies. Building on what was agreed in the Boracay Action Agenda and the progress made to date, our main objective in APEC Chile 2019 will be to address the regulatory challenges that SMEs face day-to-day. Thus, Chile will promote the economic integration of SMEs in international trade in the APEC region through initiatives that focus on reducing trade barriers, simplifying regulations, improving access, and strengthening the capabilities of SMEs to realize the benefits of globalized trade, particularly in the area of digital trade. We will advance in promoting electronic certification and digital signatures, in addition with facilitating access to information and communication technologies.
Protecting our oceans and marine ecosystem
- Combating illegal fishing
The threat of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing practices is becoming a global concern. IUU fishing distorts global fish trade and has a negative impact on fish stocks, the marine ecosystem, and food security. Given the importance of IUU fishing to the region, during the year 2019, Chile proposes that the Declaration of Leaders encourages each economy to develop and carry out an Action Plan to combat illegal fishing within a given period (to be established.)
- Prevention and reduction of Marine Debris
Marine debris monitoring is important for improving Oceans protections and identifying prevention policies. Data drawn from assessments made by researchers and quantitative evaluation by citizens, can be used to determine levels and sources of contamination. In APEC Chile 2019 we would like to develop pilot projects for monitoring marine garbage in the region at the coastal edge, with the objective to advance towards a regional standard. In addition, we will promote the commercialization of products without mercury added.
Sustainable energy: modernization for a better quality of life
Energy cooperation has become an increasingly important agenda item for APEC. Today we see the development of technology and new technical procedures having a positive impact on the generation, transmission and distribution of energy. Cheaper and cleaner energy impacts directly on economic activities, on the environment and on the general welfare of society. In APEC Chile 2019 we would like to intensify the work on electromobility and the potential this area has in the Region. In addition, Chile will host the energy Working Group Meeting next year.
Smart Cities, for our people. In 2007, for the first time in history, most of the world's population lived in cities. By 2050, up to 80% of earth's total population, will live in urban areas. Cities will continue to be central to economic growth, as will the power of integrated services, harmonized systems, and economies-of-scale. Smart technologies allow us to more accurately monitor and assess the way we interact with the natural and man-made environment. The efforts that the Asia-Pacific region make towards to this end, must include cooperation on inclusive urban growth, boosting innovative and sustainable urban infrastructure, and building smart and green cities - which are future proofed, livable and healthy.