SOM Dialogue 2020Co-organized by 2016 APEC SOM (Senior Official Meeting) Chair's Office (Peru) and PECC

[Photo credit: Courtesy of APEC Secretariat]

Program agenda

In 1994, APEC’s Economic Leaders committed to achieve the goal of free and open trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific by no later than 2020. Less than five years before this deadline, APEC finds itself within an increasingly crowded international architecture and operating in a more complex and dynamic region. Combined, these factors not only compel us to boost our efforts to achieve the Bogor Goals, but also to start developing a post-2020 vision that identifies and anchors itself in APEC’s unique value-add. 2020, an iconic year for APEC, therefore presents an opportunity to redefine and reinforce APEC’s role. And to get this right by 2020, we need to start the conversation now.

Peruvian Vice President Mercedes Araoz delivered a keynote speech at the Dialogue and acknowledged having been part of PECC's Trade Policy Forum to work on Competition Policy project in her previous life as an academic while at the Universidad del Pacifico of Peru. 

Bogor Goals
In addition to achieving free and open trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific no later than the year 2020, the Bogor Goals included a subset of elements such as commitment to the multilateral trade system, trade facilitation, consultations on economic growth strategies, regional capital flows and other macro-economic issues, as well as to intensify development cooperation to attain sustainable growth and equitable development for APEC economies.

APEC is currently finalizing its second-term Bogor Goals review. The initial findings suggest that, since the Bogor Goals were launched, average applied tariffs have fallen and it is getting faster and cheaper to trade across borders. Extreme poverty has dropped by 83.5%, life expectancy continues to increase, and enrolment in tertiary education has more than doubled.

However, the initial findings also suggest that some sectors (i.e. agriculture) have seen higher tariffs, and greater use of non-tariff measures affecting trade. Behind-the-border restrictions continue to affect services trade and investment, negative perceptions on restrictions facing foreign investors are more prevalent and, on average, unemployment and inequality is higher than it was before the Global Financial Crisis. This ‘unfinished business’ should be addressed as much as possible in the coming years, and should also inform our development of APEC’s post-2020 vision.

Four priority areas discussed at the SOM Dialogue are: services, investment, agriculture, and economic & technical cooperation. 

Regional and International Context
APEC’s post-2020 vision should also take into account the profound global and regional changes that have occurred since APEC’s launch 27 years ago. For example, there has been a twelve-fold increase in the number of free trade agreements in the region, as well as the TPP and forthcoming RCEP, not to mention the eventual FTAAP. In developing APEC’s post-2020 vision, we should remain supportive of these processes, while recognizing that they ultimately lie ‘outside’ APEC. APEC retains its unique role in fostering a more integrated and prosperous Asia-Pacific, and we should continue to focus on redefining and reinforcing this role moving forward.

The field of regional and international fora has also become more crowded, partly reflecting the emergence of more complex issues requiring collective responses, including in the Asia-Pacific. Fora as diverse as the G20, EAS, ASEAN, OECD have all expanded their work in the region in recent years, leading on issues ranging from climate change and quality development, to international financial stability and regional security.

At the same time, the United Nations has reshaped its approach towards international cooperation through the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals, a tangible set of aspirational and crosscutting objectives and targets. Moreover, the Human Development approach has proved its usefulness as a comprehensive criterion to measure progress towards development.

Ports and Marinas 009

Development of ports and new maritime routes are crucial elements to enhance connectivity and opportunities for economic growth in the Asia-Pacific. The region’s economies depend heavily on maritime trade enabled by reliable, efficient and cost-effective shipping.

This project is led by the France (Pacific Territories) committee for PECC (FPTPEC) and it consists of a set of three seminars. It focuses on the contribution of the maritime dimension to intra-regional connectivity, sustainability and drivers of growth for the PECC economies and small island states. Under the broad theme of ‘Managing the Blue Economy,’ priority attention has been given to factors leading to the emergence of new trade flow patterns, the associated trade routes, and optimization of port operation capabilities to cope with the fluctuations in trade volumes and tourism numbers throughout the region.

The first seminar was held in Papeete (French Polynesia) in October 2015 in partnership with the local government and the second in Busan (Korea) in April 2016 in partnership with the Korea Maritime Institute (KMI). Participating speakers came from domestic and regional organizations, shipping lines and cruise operators, port authorities, builders of container vessels and bulk carriers, port service providers and relevant research institutes. At the two previous seminars, views were exchanged on ways to improve connectivity in the Asia-Pacific region and stimulate economic growth, while addressing significant environmental and safety concerns. They have drawn on examples of successful collaboration with other stake-holders in major international maritime projects as well as highlighting their own best practices.

The third and final seminar of the ‘Blue Economy’ series was held on 5-7 December 2016 in the medium-sized port city of Auckland, New Zealand. The objective was to highlight the critical place that ports hold in supply chain management, examine the impacts of ever-larger container vessels and cruise ships, consider the trend towards integrated port services, review vital safety and security considerations, identify the likely consequences for regional trade flows of free trade agreements, and examine the technological and operational innovations being adopted by an increasing number of ports to become more energy-efficient and economically competitive. The final session focused on the particular challenges faced by small Pacific island ports with presentations from the chief executives of these Pacific Island ports. 

The program agenda and individual presentations are available here

Briefing paper (440KB)

photo YangzhouAPEC Economic Leaders approved the “APEC Connectivity Framework” in Bali in 2013, pledging to “reach a seamlessly and comprehensively connected and integrated Asia-Pacific through the pillars of physical connectivity, institutional connectivity and people-to-people connectivity”. The 2014 Beijing APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting endorsed the “APEC Connectivity Blueprint for 2015-2025”, which called on the APEC economies to take agreed actions and meet agreed targets to strengthen the tri-pillar connectivity by 2025. Last year, APEC Economic Leaders re-affirmed the above-mentioned commitment in Manila.

Fully recognizing its pivotal role in promoting economic growth and sustainable development, many regional organizations and economies have taken their own connectivity-related initiatives apart from or even prior to the APEC’s Blueprint. ASEAN formulated its Master Plan on Connectivity in 2010, which has made considerable progress and hence will be renewed in September this year. Pacific Alliance on its part has also taken a number of connectivity-related initiatives within the member economies.

Asia-Pacific Connectivity is not only the prerequisite for realizing the regional economic integration, but also indispensable to revitalizing the economy and promoting the long-term inclusive growth and sustainable development. Based on such premises, this symposium provided an occasion to explore the pathways to connect various connectivity initiatives within the region, facilitating the building of a seamlessly and comprehensively connected and integrated Asia-Pacific.

Agenda of Symposium, "Connecting the Connectivities":

Session 1. The Inner Links between the Regional and Sub-regional Connectivity Initiatives and the Opportunities and Challenges for Connecting these Initiatives

Session 2. Physical Connectivity: Sharing Experiences and Exploring the Practicable Ways of Interconnecting Various Initiatives

Session 3. Institutional Connectivity: Sharing Experiences and Exploring the Practicable Ways of Interconnecting Various Initiatives

Session 4. People-to-People Connectivity: Sharing Experiences and Exploring the Practicable Ways of Interconnecting Various Initiatives

Session 5. Recommendations for Connecting the Connectivity-related Initiatives within the Asia-Pacific Region

Hosted by the Chinese committee for PECC and supported by the Yangzhou local government, the Symposium was held back-to-back with PECC Standing Committee meeting.

Related press release

Program agenda and presentations for download

On August 1, 2016, the APEC Ad Hoc Steering Group on the Internet Economy (AHSGIE) held its engagement session in Shenzhen, China. The theme of the session was the Internet Economy: Generating New Momentum for Growth. PECC jointly organized the session with AHSGIE and ABAC. The session mainly discussed the role of internet and digital economy in enhancing inclusive growth, and in promoting connectivity and innovation. As before, the session involved a number of internationally renowned internet economy practitioners. 

On behalf of PECC, Amb. Tang Guoqiang, Co-Chair of PECC, made an opening address, in which he emphasized the importance of internet economy as a driver of economic growth and the great potential as well as challenges for the Asia Pacific region to develop internet economy. He called on engagement with the business society and stakeholders, inclusive growth, minimizing the digital gaps in the region and domestically. He especially stressed the significance of pragmatic cooperation and continued dialogues between government, business and academia.

On the same day, the APEC Business Advisory Coucil (ABAC) held 2016 Asia-Pacific Financial Forum: High-level Symposium in Shenzhen. The theme of the symposium was Public-Private Collaboration to Develop APEC Financial Markets – Achievements and Way Forward. Amb. Tang Guoqiang, Chair of CNCPEC and Co-Chair of PECC, and Prof. Tan Khee Giap, Chair of SINCPEC attended the symposium. The support of PECC was acknowledged by Mr. Hiroyuki Suzuki, Chair, ABAC Finance and Economics Working Group; Chair, Asia-Pacific Financial Forum in his opening remarks. The symposium discussed issues related to micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSME) financing, financial market development and integration in Asia-Pacific, role of insurance and pension sector in the regional financial system, potential of fintechs, and financial regulation, etc.

Services Tech Workshop June 2016The Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC) in cooperation with the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) organized a policy dialogue on behalf of the APEC Group on Services to explore the ways in which technology is changing how companies deliver services; and the way in which the policy and regulatory environments in which these companies operate need to respond to these changes.

Watch video from the workshop (YouTube)

The event brought together entrepreneurs in the technology sector with regulators, policy-makers and experts to understand the opportunities brought by the digital revolution and how to expand services trade and investment.

The purpose of the Workshop was to:

• Understand how changes in technology are opening up new markets for services, as well as goods;
• Consider the extent of opportunities for business to expand trade by utilizing new technologies;
• Consider the cross-cutting nature of the digital economy and consider government policy reforms to maximize the benefits of technology for services trade.

The discussions were shaped around the following key questions:

- How is technology changing business models?
- What is the policy response to the changing business models and landscape brought by disruptive technologies?
- How are these changes going to impact the next generation trade agreements?

Summary of discussions

Technology is having a profound impact on business models, through enhanced connectivity and the digitalization of value. On the revenue side, businesses are able to immediately access the international market. Cost structures are also changing, sharing economy business models are less about recouping fixed cost but increasingly about operational expenditures. These developments open up opportunities for more inclusive growth but benefitting from these changes requires a mindset shift.

Furthermore, the ability of people to benefit from this process depends on both physical and institutional connectivity – absent the digital infrastructure and regulatory equivalence, the risk is that new digital divides will open up.

A major question is whether existing international policy frameworks are sufficient for addressing the cross-border aspects of this opportunity. Four major points emerged from the dialogue:

• The existing frameworks relying on geopolitical boundaries are not compatible with the direction that the digital landscape is moving, e.g. cryptocurrencies and distributed shared data storage.
• The issues confronting businesses are decreasingly at-the-border and increasingly behind-the-border issues – regulations. Economies have different approaches to regulations derived from historical, cultural and institutional settings; there is a need to shift thinking from one solely based on risk management to one of enabling opportunity.
• The speed of technological change and adoption require policy makers and regulators to move equally fast.
• International trade policy needs to take into account sub-national frameworks where regulations are implemented.

Program agenda

Download the summary of discussions (191KB) 

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