APEC ministerial meeting eyes boosting regional economy

Manila, Nov 17 (IANS) The ministerial meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) concluded here on Tuesday and adopted a joint statement eyeing new actions to boost economic growth in the region.

According to the joint statement, the new moves aimed at continuing to chart a course for the region in the 21st century based on enhancing regional economic integration agenda, and fostering micro, small and medium enterprises’ participation in regional and global markets, Xinhua reported.

The joint statement also called for improving investment in human capital development and building sustainable and resilient communities.

Albert del Rosario, chair of the ministerial meeting, said in a briefing that the ministers of the APEC member-states strongly agreed on the need to enhance human resource development through pursuing strategic cooperation in human capital development so as to increase people’s employ ability, productivity, and ability to respond to emerging business demands.

Rosario, who also serves as the Philippines’ secretary of foreign affairs, highlighted two major achievements of APEC 2015 as a Services Cooperation Framework to promote services reform efforts and a Strategy for Strengthening Quality Growth were agreed upon.

He said the first framework will develop a services competitiveness road-map to improve trade and investment in services over the next 10 years.

Meanwhile, Gregory Domingo, Philippine secretary of trade and industry, detailed the concept of quality growth — a growth that is environmentally friendly and resilient, with an emphasis on providing economic growth to the rural areas.

He added that the quality growth, which should be based on innovation, also provides equal opportunities for the youth, women and small and medium enterprises.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop concluded in her speech during the ministerial meeting that “our focus on these six priority areas — innovation, industry-relevant education and training, women’s economic empowerment, energy resilience, urbanisation and infrastructure and disaster resilience — will lead to shared economic growth and prosperity across our region — which of course is APEC’s reason for being.”

The APEC ministerial meeting kicked off on Monday prior to the APEC economic leaders’ meeting.

The leaders’ meeting will be held from Wednesday to Thursday. Regional leaders including Chinese President Xi Jinping, South Korean President Park Geun-hye and the US President Barack Obama have arrived here on Tuesday for the summit.

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