Highlights from the sixth day of SOM 1 and Related Meetings

23 February 2017, Nha Trang City, Khanh Hoa, Viet Nam – With a total of 430 participants attending eleven activities in eight APEC fora, including the Committee of Trade and Investment (CTI), Tourism Working Group (TWG), Group on Services (GOS),  Health Working Group (HWG), Investment Working Group (IEG), Sub-Committee on Customs Procedures (SCCP), Competition Policy and Law Group (CPLG), and Electronic Commerce Steering Group (ECSG), today is one of the most active days of SOM 1 and Related Meetings.

At the Workshop on Sustainable Tourism followed by the TWG Executive Committee meeting, participants discussed directions and measures aimed at fostering economic development in the Asia – Pacific region through sustainable tourism, especially in the context of climate change. Tourism is one of the region’s fastest growing industries. In 2013, travel and tourism contributed 8.5 percent of total APEC GDP, generating 8.8 percent of total employment, and 4.9 percent of total exports. It is expected that the sector will continue to contribute to 4.6 percent growth in APEC GDP per year. Member economies have set the target of welcoming 800 million international tourists by 2025. The outcomes of the workshop will contribute to the preparation of the High-Level Policy Roundtable on Sustainable Tourism, to be held in Ha Long this coming June.

CTI’s Seminar on Supporting Industry started today, aimed at providing a platform for policy makers, experts and businesses to exchange ideas, lessonsand recommendations on improving APEC members’ capacity to enhance supporting industries. In turn, this facilitates trade and investment in the region and promote micro, small and medium enterprises’ deeper participation in global value chains. Representatives from APEC member economies and experts also suggested key elements for a set of Policy Guidelines to be submitted for endorsement later in 2017. 

Also under the CTI, the Workshop on "Promoting Trade in Products which Contribute to Sustainable and Inclusive Growth through Rural Development and Poverty Alleviation" has concluded. Based on discussions at the workshop and APEC’s work, including APEC Policy Support Unit’s study on the subject, participants came up with concrete recommendations on promoting trade in development products, which will be reported back to the SOM.

At the GOS’s Public-Private Dialogue on Services, representatives from member economies and business community exchanged their views on ways and means to strengthen services cooperation in APEC, and to overcome policy barriers service providers are facing in the region, with special focus on distribution, transportation and logistics. With strong support from the bussiness community, services have become a priority in APEC agenda in the last couple of years. APEC Leaders’  endorsements of APEC Services Cooperation Framework (ASCF) in 2015 and APEC Services Competitiveness Roadmap (ASCR) in 2016 have paved the way for a more transparent and competitive service sector in the region, aiming at increasing trade in services annual growth by over 6.8 percent by 2025.

Today is also the first working day of IEG and HWG. The HWG focused on reviewing 2016 deliverables and agreed on the calendar events of 2017, including the 7th High-Level Meeting on Health and the Economy to be held this August in Ho Chi Minh city. Meanwhile, one of the IEG’s main topics of discussion today was the next-generation trade and investment issues, including sustainable investment as a potential area. 

After three days of discussion, the SCCP has finished its agenda with an updated work program for 2017. The meeting welcomed the coming into force of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) after being ratified by two-thirds of WTO’s 164 members. Trade facilitation is a key topic for discussion in SCCP and also an area APEC is at the forefront and actively contributing to the multilateral trading system.

The ECSG and CPLG today also concluded meetings of the Data Privacy Subgroup and the Workshop on Economics of Competition Policy with fruitful outcomes.

In conjunction with these meetings, the APEC Secretariat today hosted a Project Management Training, a technical assistance activity aiming at building capacity for member economies, particularly developing ones, for them to be able to fully participate and capitalize on the benefits of APEC cooperation projects.