APEC's Dynamic Economies Take Path for Development and Prosperity

On 2 March 2017, the First APEC Senior Officials' Meeting (SOM 1) took place in Nha Trang City, Khanh Hoa Province. Some 200 delegates, including Senior Officials from 21 member economies as well as representatives from the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC) and APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) participated in the meeting.

H.E. Mr. Bui Thanh Son, APEC 2017 SOM Chair set the tone for the proceedings by describing 2017 as a difficult year with slowdown and instability in economic growth and global trade while there is a growing concern that globalization benefits may not be fairly distributed. He also warned about the risk of widening development disparity among economies if new disruptive technologies are not properly harnessed.

"Despite all this, we believe that APEC has all the resources, potentials and capabilities to overcome the challenges and turn them into impetus for further growth and development" he stated. "As dynamic economies, we are confident that our region will continue to move ahead on the path of development and prosperity." 

Given the context, APEC needs to "transform itself to reassert its relevance and better serving as the premier regional economic forum." He later added "APEC should communicate better what APEC has been doing and how it has benefited not only business community but also the people."

The meeting also listened to reports from the Chairs of Finance Senior Officials' Meeting (FSOM) and APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) on their respective meetings and cooperation priorities of their sectors in 2017. Both reports showed alignment between finance process and business with APEC 2017 theme and priorities. Senior Officials from APEC member economies appreciated and reaffirmed their support for APEC 2017 theme and priorities while emphasizing the importance for increased interaction with the APEC finance and business channel.

Tomorrow, Senior Officials will continue discussion and endorse reports from 4 APEC committees, namely the Committee of Trade and Investment (CTI), Economic Committee (EC), Steering Committee on Economic and Technical Cooperation (SCE) and Budget Management Committee (BMC). The meeting will also discuss APEC 2017 priorities and propose new initiatives to shape APEC activities from now to APEC Leaders' Week in Da Nang this November.