The 2015 APEC Economic Leaders’ Week hosted by the Philippines and chaired by President Benigno S. Aquino III has commenced in Manila.
Under the theme, Building Inclusive Economies, Building a Better World, Leaders, Ministers and Senior Officials from APEC’s 21 member economies, the world’s largest regional economic group, will take new joint actions to boost trade and growth in the Pacific Rim while ensuring that the benefits are widely felt.
Priority areas of focus include enhancing regional economic integration; fostering micro, small and medium enterprise participation in regional and global markets; investing in human capital development; and building sustainable and resilient communities.
“APEC is not just a trade and investment facilitation forum; it also discusses development issues,” explained Ambassador Laura Q. Del Rosario, Philippine Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs and Chair of the 2015 APEC Senior Officials. “The trade and investment aspects of our economy underpin our economic development but we all recognize that we promote a development agenda as well.”
“The economy is made up of many moving parts and therefore we cannot just talk about one aspect and say that the other sectors or issues can wait,” Ambassador Del Rosario added. “We have to make sure that all the systems are good and that we are really taking care of all the moving parts.”
The week will culminate with the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting on 18-19 November to be guided by President Aquino and provide strategic vision and directives for future collaboration between APEC member economies.
It will be preceded by the APEC Ministerial Meeting co-chaired by Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. Del Rosario and Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory L. Domingo on 16-17 November and the APEC Concluding Senior Officials’ Meeting on 13-14 November to finalize new measures for lifting trade and growth, and deciding the contours of joint policy development and implementation.
APEC member economies together account for about three billion people, half of global trade, 60 per cent of total GDP and much of the world’s growth. The region’s outlook will be assessed in the APEC Policy Support Unit’s latest Economic Trends Analysis and Trade Monitoring reports to be unveiled on 16 November, setting the tone for the week’s policy discussions.
The business community also has a seat at the table—the region’s Leaders will meet with representatives of the APEC Business Advisory Council, led by 2015 Chair Doris Magsaysay-Ho, on 18 November to discuss their policy recommendations.
The 2015 APEC CEO Summit, an open dialogue held in conjunction with the APEC Economic Leaders’ Week and organized by the private sector featuring the region’s Leaders and business heads, will meanwhile take place on 16-18 November. The APEC Small and Medium Enterprise Summit will also be held on 17 November to address opportunities and challenges unique to the sector.
“We will know that we are successful in our work when our own people feel the incremental improvement in their lives,” noted Ambassador Del Rosario. “We also hope that in the coming years our work for this year and the past years will have answered and will continue to address many questions and concerns, taking into account the movement we have started in pushing for both a trade and investment and a development agenda in APEC.”
“APEC members know that the diffusion of new norms and economic policy will promote inclusiveness as well as initiate programs which will have tangible results that will address the everyday concerns of our peoples,” she concluded.