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Friday, May 17, 2019

APEC Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Trade gets underway with a call for trade openness

Viña del Mar, May 17, 2016.- Today the meetings of the Ministers Responsible for Trade from the 21 APEC member economies got underway with a call from Chile to strengthen regional economic integration in the context of trade deceleration.

The Foreign Affairs Minister and Chair of the group, Roberto Ampuero, gave the opening words of welcome. He said that Chile’s regional integration into the Asia-Pacific region has its origins in APEC at a time “when the most important catalyst for growth was free trade.” He added that of the 26 trade agreements Chile currently has in place, 16 are with APEC economies.

“Our economic success is due to open markets and international integration. We are also aware that APEC’s collaborative and consensus-building  approach continues to shape the way in which we understand trade and investment,” he added.

He continued, “free trade, openness and integration have undoubtedly been powerful factors in the great leap forward (in development) that we have made in just three decades.”

Meanwhile, former President and Ambassador on Special Mission to the Asia-Pacific region, Eduardo Frei, highlighted how important the Asia-Pacific region has been to the network of trade agreements and how APEC has evolved to become one of the “most important regional groupings on Earth”, as its members represent “60% of world GDP and 50% of global trade.”

In the current context of protectionist trends around the world, the former president said, “Chile needs diversification” and emphasized the importance of being “in all global markets in order to buffer external shocks. This requires an open and pragmatic spirit and refraining from participating in the major conflicts and tensions that have shaken the world.”

Because of its non-binding nature, APEC can once again be a key engine in strengthening the architecture of world trade. In this context, during the 25th meeting of Ministers Responsible for Trade, APEC will support the conversation and dialogue between its member economies to provide the ideas that the global economy needs to move forward.

The Meetings of Ministers Responsible for Trade from the APEC economies will end on May 18 with the joint statement by the forum members.