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Friday, March 1, 2019

High participation by Chilean government officials in the first APEC meetings

Ministers, undersecretaries, public prosecutors and service heads took part in meetings and workshops on combating corruption, digital trade, health and childhood obesity.

Santiago, March 1, 2019.- During the first week of the technical meetings that are taking place in the context of the APEC First Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM1), many high-ranking Chilean government officials have taken part in the around 40 meetings, workshops, seminars and site visits that have already taken place.


The coming days will include a meeting of the APEC Vision Group responsible for shaping the forum post-2020 and the APEC Finance and Central Bank Deputies’ Meeting, and will conclude with the SOM1 on March 7 and 8.


The SOM Chair, Mathias Francke, said that the meetings had been fruitful in terms of stimulating dialogue and leading the agenda on the topics that had been established. “The high level of active participation by Chile's ministries and services has been notable during this first week. Often they have been represented by the acting ministers and undersecretaries and service heads and this reflects their interest in sharing Chile’s experience with the other APEC economies on matters like transparency, corruption, health and gender policies, forestry management and data protection in the digital environment.”


One of APEC’s priorities for this year is the Digital Society and in this context a data protection workshop was held. It was attended by high-ranking representatives from the private sector and regulatory bodies, as well as delegates from the APEC member economies. Among the well-known attendees were Marcelo Drago, President of the Chilean Transparency Council and Senator Felipe Harboe. This workshop highlighted the responsibility of companies and regulators with regard to protecting private data, as well as the importance of the free flow of data to strengthen digital trade.


This week, the Sub-Committee on Customs Procedures (SCCP) also got to work, covering topics such as trade facilitation, protection of and compliance with the rules on Intellectual Property Rights, the incorporation of SMEs into international trade and the role that Customs play in this process, responsive and efficient customs cooperation through the emergence of new methods to achieve effective mutual cooperation and assistance, and achieving a joint regional vision regarding the implementation of preferential Rules of Origin in Free Trade and Integration Agreements. Chile’s recently appointed National Customs Service Director, José Ignacio Palma, took part in the meetings. He also welcomed the foreign delegates to Valparaíso, where they were able to see for themselves Chile’s Customs Service in operation.


Other notable meetings this week were the Anti-Corruption and Transparency workshop, including a presentation of the programs and initiatives on integrity adopted by Chile’s public services to avoid corruption. Among those attending the inauguration were the Minister Secretary General of the Government, Gonzalo Blumel, the Comptroller General of the Republic of Chile, Jorge Bermúdez, the President of the Chilean Transparency Council, Marcelo Drago, and the Public Prosecutor, Jorge Abbott.


Health Minister Emilio Santelices opened the APEC Health Working Group Meeting, and Health Undersecretary Paula Daza chaired a workshop on policies for preventing childhood obesity, which reviewed different public initiatives that have been implemented by APEC member economies.


Meanwhile, in line with another of APEC’s priorities for this year - Women, SMEs and Inclusive Growth - the Chilean Villages (Aldeas chilenas) were inaugurated on February 26. This is an exhibition in which 50 exporting SMEs from the Metropolitan Region of Chile are showcasing their products to the delegates from the 21 member economies of APEC at the hotels where the meetings are being held. The initiative will be repeated in the next cycles of technical meetings that are scheduled to take place in Viña del Mar, Puerto Varas and Santiago.


Mathias Francke said that the objective is for the exhibitors to take advantage of the showcase provided by APEC being hosted by Chile this year. This is a real opportunity for them to show Chile to the rest of the world through their products. “As the APEC host economy, we want to show the products for which we are known abroad and of which we Chileans feel proud. We are thinking about the benefit this can bring to the people of Chile and also about sustainable, inclusive and comprehensive development,” Mathias Francke explained.


About APEC

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