Highlights from the fourth day of SOM 1 and Related Meetings

21 February 2017, Nha Trang City, Khanh Hoa, Viet NamAPEC members entered day 4 of SOM 1 and related meetings with 09 working group and committee meetings, namely Human Resource Development (HRDWG), Life Sciences and Innovation Forum (LSIF), Sub-Committee on Standards and Conformance (SCSC), Competition Policy and Law Group (CPLG), Sub-Committee on Customs Procedures (SCCP), Counter Terrorism (CTWG), and Experts Group on Illegal Logging and Associated Trade (EGILAT).

The HRDWG, on its second working day, held 3 network meetings on Capacity Building, Education and Labour and Social Protection. Delegates reviewed the results achieved in 2016 and agreed on the group's new directions and priorities, including the implementation of the APEC Education Strategy as well as preparations for the proposed "High-level policy dialogue on Human resource development in the digital age" to be held in Ha Noi this May.

The SCCP held its first plenary meeting today, discussing the implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) in the WTO; single window connection; enhancing the supply chain connectivity framework and APEC Authorize Exporters Program (AEP). These are concrete efforts made by SCCP in further reducing administrative procedures, time and cost and thus bringing tangible benefits to the APEC business community.

Today, the EGILAT & SCSC have concluded their first plenary meeting of this year, endorsed their 2017 workplans. This EGILAT meeting was held at a time when some APEC members are adjusting their legal system on the legality of wood products. In this context, the participants actively discussed and shared information on policies and measures to combat illegal logging and associated trade; exchanged experiences to promote links between producers and consumers, between small-scale farmers and multinational corporations, in order to facilitate small and medium-sized enterprises to participate in global supply chains, and to ensure that only legally harvested forest products be put into the supply chains for the sake of sustainable development of forests. APEC's role in the promotion of sustainable forest management and trade in legally harvested forest products is an important one, given  that APEC economies account for approximately 53 percent of the world's forests, 60 percent of global production of forest products, and 80 percent of global trade in forest products.

Meanwhile, the SCSC meeting focused on specific measures aimed at promoting APEC's alignment with international standards; technical infrastructure development, especifically on food and product safety, standards and conformance education, environment protection and smart city. Delegates also exchanged ideas on trade facilitation through standardization activities and promotion of the digital economy in the context of the 4th Industrial Revolution. International standards organizations such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU)... presented their ideas at the meeting, stressing the importance of international standardization activities in  a bid to shape and promote the digital economy and smart city.

Also today, the participants of the CPLG Seminar on "Using Competition Assessments to Eliminate Barriers to Trade and Commerce in Goods and Services" and the LSIF's Regulatory Harmonization Steering Committee continued lively discussion. The results of these meetings will be presented at their respective groups' plenary tomorrow.

The CTWG started their APEC 2017 first meeting this morning. Delegates discussed the group's 2017 work program and reviewed CTWG Strategic Plan 2013 - 2017.

Alongside with SOM 1 activities, the Deputy Finance and Central Bank Deputies' Meeting will also be held in Nha Trang City from 23 - 24 February. To prepare for this meeting, the seminar on "Disaster Risk Financing and Insurance Policy" had been held today, where delegates exchanged ideas, initiatives, shared best practices and committed to promoting cooperation in the development of financial and insurance solutions in response to natural disaster risks.