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Friday, December 7, 2018

Mathias Francke, SOM Chair: “During APEC 2019 the different regions of Chile will have the opportunity to showcase their cultural, geographic and social wealth”

Chile will be hosting APEC for the second time ever, and more than 15,000 delegates from Asia-Pacific economies are expected to visit the country.

December 7, 2018. Concepción, Temuco and Puerto Varas were the cities chosen this week by the General Directorate of International Economic Relations (Direcon) for different activities during APEC 2019, a forum in which Chile’s different regions will play a special role.

Speaking at meetings with the local community, Mathias Francke, SOM Chair (Chair of the Senior Officials of APEC) explained that there will be “a unique opportunity to showcase the regions’ cultural, geographic and social wealth next year, when Chile will host APEC for the second time ever in its history (the first time being in 2004). Over 15,000 delegates are expected to come to Chile from the other 20 APEC member economies.”

Importance of the Forum

For Chile, APEC is the main economic integration forum for the Asia-Pacific region and it has proven to be a catalyst for processes of economic and trade liberalization at the bilateral and multilateral levels, as well as an instrument for effectively implementing Chile’s foreign policy in the region.

“It is not by chance that 69% of our exports are shipped to the Asia-Pacific region. Nor is it a coincidence that we have trade agreements with 16 of the 21 APEC member economies,” explained SOM Chair, Mathias Francke. He added, “Asia-Pacific is the most economically dynamic region of the 21st century, with around 40% of the world’s population. Hosting APEC in 2019 will therefore provide Chile with a historical opportunity to consolidate its integration efforts in that area”.

APEC regional agenda

The APEC year will begin with the Informal Senior Officials’ Meeting (ISOM), which will take place in Santiago on December 12 and 13, 2018, followed by the First Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM1) in February 2019.

The meetings will continue in May, when Valparaíso will welcome the Second Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM2) and the Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting (MRT). During the same period, there will also be meetings of study centers and APEC observers.

The third block of meetings will take place in August in the city of Puerto Varas, which will host the Third Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM3), the Agriculture Ministerial Meeting and Food Security Week.

In September 2019, Concepción will welcome sectorial meetings and a high-level dialogue. The year will culminate with Leaders’ Week in Santiago in November 2019.

Strategic focus on the Pacific Alliance

Another topic that will generate interest in the seminar will be the presentations about the integration process of the Pacific Alliance (comprising Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru). During the activity, the commitment to the mechanism and its future challenges will be reconfirmed, particularly those challenges related to the Action Plan with Mercosur, the negotiations with the associate member candidates (Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Singapore) and the strategic vision for 2030.

Stress will also be laid on the synergies that can be generated between APEC and the Pacific Alliance with the objective of consolidating a pathway towards a Free Trade Area in Asia-Pacific.