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Wednesday, August 28, 2019

APEC POST 2020: Experts to renew APEC’S vision after 15 years

The APEC Vision Group reaffirmed the promotion of free trade and investment and reached a consensus to support WTO reform and the efforts of international organizations to promote sustainable development in the face of climate change.

 Puerto Varas, August 28, 2019.  What are APEC’s goals for the future? This question was the focus of the most recent APEC Vision Group (AVG) meeting, which concluded on Tuesday. It was held in the context of the Third Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM3) taking place in Puerto Varas. 

This high level group is charged with discussing, drafting and delivering a post-2020 vision for the forum, which comprises 21 Asia-Pacific economies. The year 2020 marks the deadline for achieving the Bogor Goals.  Adopted in 1994, these goals involved reducing barriers to trade and investment in order to promote the free flow of goods, services and capital among APEC economies. 

In broad terms, the group reaffirmed support for free trade and investment in a world faced with growing protectionist threats, high tariffs and new non-tariff barriers (affecting services) and it reached a consensus on trade issues and climate change.

Speaking about trade issues, the Chilean representative to the AVG and Director of the International Studies Center at Pontificia Universidad Católica, Jorge Sahd explained that “APEC will support reform of the World Trade Organization (WTO). This is essential as it is the institution responsible for resolving trade disputes between countries and is going through a critical period.  Therefore, we are reaffirming that the primary mission of APEC is to achieve prosperity in member economies through free trade and investment.”

“With respect to climate change - the other issue that has led to heightened international tensions - APEC is committed to supporting the efforts of other international organizations to achieve more sustainable development,” he stated.  Finally, the AVG also defined as a principle the promotion of the digital economy, technological changes and internal reforms countries need to implement to take better advantage of the benefits of trade and economic integration. 

Following this latest meeting, the AVG will produce a report proposing goals and recommendations to be presented at the Leaders’ Summit scheduled for November 16 and 17 in Santiago.

As a result of the work accomplished to date, the AVG now has the main themes that will form part of the APEC post-2020 vision. These include digitalization; disruptive technologies; the digital gap; trade and investment matters, such as an incomplete agenda, liberalization of services, tariff trends and market opening; economic and market fundamentals; inclusion and participation; and sustainability in regard to the environment, food and energy. 

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