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Saturday, February 23, 2019

APEC Chile 2019

First Senior Officials’ Meeting begins in Santiago

Over the next two weeks, working groups from the 21 Asia-Pacific economies will meet for the first time in Santiago.

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Santiago, February 23, 2019 - From February 23 through March 8, the First Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM1) and related meetings of APEC Chile 2019 will be held.  Over two weeks there will be more than 60 working group meetings, workshops, seminars and site visits, culminating with the SOM1 and the APEC Finance and Central Bank Deputies’ Meeting.

Chile has defined four priority areas for APEC 2019: Digital Society; Integration 4.0; Women, SMEs and Inclusive Growth; and Sustainable Growth.

The SOM Chair for APEC Chile 2019, Mathias Francke, noted the importance of Chile’s role in selecting themes and overseeing an agenda that falls within the framework of the forum. “Within APEC we exchange experiences and, as the host economy, we want to share those efforts we have made in the areas of the digital economy, trade in services, movement of people, women, SMEs and their insertion in the global economy, sustainable growth etc.,” he stated. He added, “moreover, in an ever-changing and unstable world scenario, APEC has emerged as a good platform for discussions that promote dialogue and cooperation among the Asia-Pacific economies.”

On the first day of this first round of technical meetings, seven meetings were held by the Business Mobility Group, the Investment Experts’ Group, groups related to food security, as well as Chemical Dialogue preparatory meetings, and others.  

The Expert Group on Illegal Logging and Associated Trade (EGILAT) held a workshop attended by around 70 people, both Chileans and non-Chileans, which included presentations by various international experts. It will continue until Monday, when a site visit will be made to the Valparaiso Region. The goal of EGILAT is to take concrete steps to combat illegal logging and associated trade and promote the trade in legally harvested forest products and supporting capacity building activities in APEC member economies. The acting Executive Director of the National Forestry Service (CONAF), Juan Carlos Castillo, stated in his speech that, “as the Chilean forestry service we feel that we have made very significant advances in introducing technologies for the timely and efficient detection of illegal logging, as well as in monitoring various forest management tools, such as management plans.”

The Oceans and Fisheries Working Group also convened. Their inaugural session was headed by the National Director of the Chilean National Fisheries Service (Sernapesca), Alicia Gallardo.  This meeting, which spans three days, will address various issues associated with marine conservation and the responsible use of fisheries resources, such as combating illegal fishing, managing waste and contaminants that effect marine ecosystems, overseeing protected marine areas, etc.

Mathias Francke, SOM Chair for APEC Chile 2019, emphasized that, “Sustainable Growth, one of Chile’s main priorities, seeks precisely to protect the oceans. Chile, as host of APEC 2019, will provide a space for large and small economies to speak as equals, thereby creating trust that leads to collaboration, while recognizing our differences. This will lead to an open and productive dialogue.”

These meetings will continue until March 7 and 8, when SOM1will be held.  At this time, Senior Officials from the 21 member economies, led by Francke, will come together in Santiago.

The full calendar of meetings is available at

About APEC

The economies that make up APEC are: Australia, Brunei Darussalam; Canada; Chile; China; Hong Kong, China; Indonesia; Japan; South Korea; Malaysia; Mexico; New Zealand; Papua New Guinea; Peru; Philippines; Russia; Singapore; Chinese Taipei; Thailand; United States; and Viet Nam.