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Saturday, May 18, 2019

2015 was the last year that a joint statement was made

APEC economies’ trade ministers reach consensus with strong support for reforming the WTO

The plenary session of the Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Trade from the 21 Asia-Pacific economies took place today. After 4 years without a joint statement on the multilateral trading system, the members joined forces in calling for support for a reform of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Viña del Mar, May 18, 2019.- The meeting, led by Chile’s Foreign Affairs Minister and Chair of the group, Roberto Ampuero, was marked by conversation and dialogue between the APEC member economies, generating ideas and energy for progressing towards trade that is open and has clear rules.

“We affirm the importance of transparent and non-discriminatory, agreed upon rules in the WTO, which can enhance market predictability, enable business confidence, and allow trade to flow. Recognizing the WTO’s role in this regard, we agree that action is necessary to improve its functioning,” the statement reads.

In the ministers’ joint press conference, Chile’s Foreign Affairs Minister indicated that the economies are tasking their working teams to accelerate areas of work that can advance APEC’s support for the WTO’s work. Also, with the aim of fostering “open and constructive” participation, he added, “we recognize our business community’s call for APEC to continue supporting the multilateral trading system.”

During the meetings of the Ministers of Trade, the priorities outlined by Chile were discussed: Women, SMEs and Inclusive Growth, Digital Society; Integration 4.0; and Sustainable Growth. They also addressed deepening APEC’s Regional Economic Integration Agenda.

Foreign Affairs Minister Ampuero stated that the economies are committed to attaining the Bogor Goals of achieving free and open trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific  region, for which reason “we encourage initiatives that support a final push towards the Bogor Goals before the deadline of 2020. In this regard, APEC will put a special focus on the services sector,” he concluded.