The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Ministers have set the priorities that would chart a course for the Asia-Pacific region in pursuing its vision on economic growth agenda.
The four priorities include: Enhancing the Regional Economic Integration Agenda; Fostering Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises’ Participation in Regional and Global Markets; Investing in Human Capital Development; and Building Sustainable and Resilient Communities.
Below is the 2015 APEC Ministerial Meeting – Joint Ministerial Statement:
1. We, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Ministers convened on 16-17 November 2015 in Manila, the Philippines under the chairmanship of Albert F. del Rosario, Secretary of Foreign Affairs, and Gregory L. Domingo, Secretary of Trade and Industry.
2. In APEC’s 26th year, we chose the theme “Building Inclusive Economies, Building a Better World,” representing our vision for an Asia-Pacific region that embraces an economic growth agenda that benefits everyone and future generations – reiterating the vision our APEC Leaders set twenty years ago in Subic for sustainable growth and equitable development. This year, as we continue to chart a course for the region into the 21st century, we pursued this vision through four priorities: Enhancing the Regional Economic Integration (REI) Agenda; Fostering Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises’ (MSME) Participation in Regional and Global Markets; Investing in Human Capital Development; and Building Sustainable and Resilient Communities.
3. We welcomed the participation of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC), the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), the World Trade Organization (WTO), as well as the APEC Secretariat and APEC Policy Support Unit (PSU).
4. Global economic performance remains modest and uneven overall. We welcome the strengthening economic activity in some economies, but note that global growth has fallen short of our expectations. Economies continue to face headwinds including weak final demand and volatility in financial markets. We acknowledge the Finance Ministers’ Statement reaffirming their previous commitments on monetary and exchange rate policies, and on refraining from competitive devaluation and on resisting all forms of protectionism.
5. The Asia-Pacific continues to be the world’s most dynamic region and has outperformed most other regions. This positive result flows from our commitment to the Bogor Goals of free and open trade and investment, and our work to achieve regional economic integration which builds our economic foundations on the basis of individual and collective efforts to free and open trade.
6. Now more than ever, we need a comprehensive, strategic, and broad-based approach to confront the challenges and to seize opportunities, founded on the principles of accountability, transparency, openness, and inclusion. Institution building, financial inclusion, environmental protection, disaster risk reduction, and social cohesion will be critical to sustaining inclusive growth. Our innovative, resourceful, and entrepreneurial people compel us to provide them with an enabling environment in which to grow and flourish. Our region’s rich natural resources in both land and sea, if managed wisely with due regard for the environment and sustainability, will provide significant means to achieve wealth and economic and job security.
7. We welcome continued efforts to mainstream gender equality in APEC processes and activities and we reaffirm the vital contribution of women to economic development and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific and beyond. Women, as prime movers of inclusive growth, make significant contributions to the economy through their participation in labor markets, inclusive business, international markets, and global value chains (GVCs).
8. We will structure our policies to support strong, sustainable, balanced, innovative, secure, and inclusive growth. We are committed to taking concrete steps and joint actions to foster peace, stability, prosperity, economic growth and development in the region, for a sustainable Asia-Pacific partnership, and to jointly build an open economy in the Asia-Pacific that is based on innovative development, interconnected growth, and shared interest. We commend the substantial work to implement undertakings from previous years.
9. To this end, here in Manila we commit to the following actions:
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APEC OVERARCHING INITIATIVES
Support for the Multilateral Trading System
10. We uphold the commitment to strengthen the rules-based, transparent, non-discriminatory, open, and inclusive multilateral trading system as embodied in the WTO. Recognizing the significant achievements of the WTO since its establishment twenty years ago and the importance of the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference in Nairobi on 15-18 December 2015, we recommend that Leaders issue a separate Statement on Supporting the Multilateral Trading System and the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference.
11. We uphold our commitment towards achieving the Bogor Goals by 2020, and note additional initiatives to address vulnerable populations, bridge the development gaps, and alleviate poverty. We reaffirm the importance of APEC’s Individual Action Plan (IAP) process , and its continuous improvement through the revised IAP template as a means to track our progress in achieving the Bogor Goals. We look forward to the Second-Term Review in 2016 of economies’ progress towards the Bogor Goals.
APEC Strategy for Strengthening Quality Growth
12. We endorse for Leaders’ adoption the APEC Strategy for Strengthening Quality Growth. Building on the 2010 APEC Leaders’ Growth Strategy and bearing in mind the commitments in the 2014 APEC Accord on Innovative Development, Economic Reform and Growth, the APEC Strategy for Strengthening Quality Growth strengthens cooperation and capacity building in achieving balanced, inclusive, innovative, secure, and sustainable growth by focusing on key accountability areas: institution building, social cohesion, and environmental impact. We encourage the private sector’s participation in developing whole-of-economy, whole-of-society approaches towards ensuring dynamic and quality growth.
13. Guided by the Santiago Commitment to Fight Corruption and Ensure Transparency, the APEC Course of Action on Fighting Corruption and Ensuring Transparency, the Vladivostok Declaration on Fighting Corruption and Ensuring Transparency and the Beijing Declaration on Fighting Corruption, we reaffirm our strong commitment to fighting corruption and bribery, and promoting international cooperation in the areas of repatriation or extradition of corrupt officials, asset recovery, criminalization, and prevention of corruption among APEC member economies.
14. We welcome the work of the recently organized APEC Network of Anti-Corruption Authorities and Law Enforcement Agencies (ACT-NET) to advance pragmatic cooperation in fighting corruption, bribery, money laundering, and illicit trade, as well as in the identification and return of the proceeds of those crimes, where appropriate, and subject to domestic laws and policies.
15. We recognize the need to disrupt the growing convergence of corruption and illicit trade including environmental crimes. We encourage stronger cross-border cooperation and more innovative pathfinding approaches among economies including through public-private partnerships, in order to better combat the harmful effects of the illegal economy and to promote cultures of integrity across borders, markets, and supply chains.
16. We welcome the Cebu Manifesto for the Protection of Anti-Corruption Officials and acknowledge the important role of anti-corruption officials in the detection, investigation, prosecution, and prevention of corrupt activities. We further encourage economies to take all appropriate measures to protect anti-corruption officials at the domestic and international fronts.
APEC Services Cooperation Framework
17. Trade in services is growing rapidly, and is projected to outpace our trade in goods not just in value, but in the depth and breadth of economic engagement throughout society. We endorse for Leaders’ adoption the APEC Services Cooperation Framework (ASCF) to provide impetus for a deeper understanding of services and the policy and regulatory settings that will best facilitate innovative, productive, and vibrant services sectors. This will equip economies with the right tools to formulate policies appropriate to their needs, recognizing that open, transparent, and competitive services sectors help create jobs, produce quality goods, harness opportunities for businesses, spur economic growth, widen choices for consumers, improve living standards, and alleviate poverty. We support the development of an APEC Services Competitiveness Roadmap in 2016, consistent with the ASCF.
SUPPORT FOR THE APEC 2015 PRIORITIES
Priority 1: Enhancing the Regional Economic Integration Agenda
Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP)
18. We commend the progress in the implementation of the Beijing Roadmap for APEC’s Contribution to the Realization of the FTAAP and welcome its Progress Report. We also commend the launch of the Collective Strategic Study on Issues Related to the Realization of the FTAAP, including the establishment of the task force and core drafting group, the development of the Terms of Reference, Consolidated Work Plan, and Editing Mechanism for final editing of the study. We look forward to Senior Officials’ submission of a comprehensive study and accompanying recommendations by the end of 2016. We welcome the summary report of the outcomes of the Seminar on the FTAAP held in August 2015, various workshops under the 2nd phase of the Capacity Building Needs Initiative (CBNI) and policy dialogues under the Information Sharing Mechanism for RTAs/FTAs. Noting the recent developments in the free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations in the region, we reaffirm our belief contained in the Pathways to FTAAP that an FTAAP should be pursued as a comprehensive free trade agreement by developing and building on ongoing regional undertakings.
Environmental Goods and Services
19. We recognize the importance of trade-enhancing solutions to address environmental challenges and achieve green growth. We commend the economies that are on track to fulfill the ground-breaking commitment to reduce applied tariffs on the APEC List of 54 Environmental Goods to five percent or less by the end of this year, as agreed by our Leaders in 2012. We urge economies yet to fully implement the commitment to intensify their efforts to meet the deadline. We instruct officials to consolidate all economies’ final implementation plans by the end of the year and to publish these plans on the APEC website.
20. We welcome the endorsement of the Environmental Services Action Plan (ESAP) to promote liberalization, facilitation, and cooperation in environmental services. We instruct officials to implement actions under the ESAP. We look forward to the progress in implementation by 2018 for interim review and 2020 for final review.
21. We endorse the Renewed APEC Agenda for Structural Reform (RAASR) as the continuation of APEC’s structural reform work program until 2020, which strives to stimulate balanced and sustainable growth and reduce inequality. We commit to accelerate our efforts to address institution building in our economies through structural reform and capacity building focused on economic governance, encouraging unilateral reforms aimed at further improving the services sector, regulatory infrastructure, and competition policy. In endorsing the RAASR, we welcome the APEC PSU report Assessing the APEC New Strategy for Structural Reform (ANSSR) and Advancing the APEC Structural Reform Agenda Beyond 2015 and its recommendations to strengthen APEC’s structural reform agenda going forward.
22. We commit to work across the APEC platform, particularly through the Economic Committee (EC), on the RAASR by incorporating the fundamental elements of structural reform, including regulatory reform, strengthening economic and legal infrastructure, competition policy, corporate governance, and public sector management.
23. We commend member economies’ contributions to the ongoing Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) initiative and welcome the EC’s plans to develop the APEC EoDB Implementation Plan to guide capacity building as we strive to meet a new aspirational target of a 10 percent improvement by 2018.
24. We endorse the 2015 APEC Economic Policy Report on Structural Reform and Innovation, and its recommendations to harness the growth potential that innovation can provide through effective structural reform policies. We look forward to the 2016 APEC Economic Policy Report on Structural Reform and Services, as well as the 2016 Conference on Good Regulatory Practice on the topic of “building high level support for reform”.
25. We welcome the launch of the Cebu Action Plan (CAP) under the APEC Finance Ministers’ Process (FMP), which works on four pillars: (i) promoting financial integration; (ii) advancing fiscal reforms and transparency; (iii) enhancing financial resiliency; and (iv) accelerating infrastructure development and financing. We recognize that regional financial development and integration in APEC are needed, while balancing other considerations, such as investor protection, market integrity, regulatory conditions, monitoring de-risking, and financial stability, as these will pave the way for greater intra-regional trade and investment, and facilitate the development of more inclusive financial markets across APEC. We acknowledge that fiscal reforms to improve governance and fiscal transparency can achieve greater inclusiveness and fiscal sustainability, allow for broad participation in the budgeting process, and enhance management of tax expenditures, subsidies, and government liabilities. We value the role of financial resilience to sustainable and inclusive growth. Financial resilience can be boosted through continued macroeconomic cooperation among economies, including the sharing of experiences in macroprudential policy frameworks and resilience to external capital flow volatility. We reiterate that quality infrastructure development and financing is a key priority for the region, given the demands for connectivity across economies and within economies.
26. We recognize that given the varying levels of development and domestic circumstances across APEC economies, the CAP is voluntary and non-binding, and that the initiatives and deliverables in the roadmap are broadly beneficial to APEC as a whole. The CAP continues the progress towards the Bogor Goals of free and open trade and investment, as well as the Kyoto Report on the growth strategy and finance of identifying priorities for future growth in the APEC region and a living document that can be used as a reference for the activities of the FMP. We encourage economies to work together to implement domestically, regionally, and globally applicable CAP initiatives and deliverables to promote intra-regional trade and investments, connectivity, infrastructure development, and MSME and supply chain financing.
27. We welcome the Investment Facilitation Action Plan (IFAP) priority actions for 2015-2016 and encourage members to take on specific IFAP actions, on a voluntary basis, to support a more predictable and transparent investment climate and strengthen the role of investment as a driver of growth and jobs.
South Integrated Transport System (artist rendition) Courtesy of ppp.gov.ph
28. We welcome the publication of the Guidebook on Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Frameworks in the APEC Region and recognize the value of the report as a reference for APEC economies in developing PPP infrastructure frameworks. We also commit to build on ongoing initiatives outlined in the 2014 and 2015 Finance Ministerial Statements including capacity building, continuing to build on the work and implement initiatives laid out by the PPP Experts Advisory Panel. We likewise support partnerships with international organizations and long-term financing and funding support for PPP projects in the region.
Continuing Work on Services
29. We welcome continued work to increase the transparency of services trade-related regulations, facilitate services trade and investment, and develop open services markets. We welcome the APEC Virtual Knowledge Center on Services as a knowledge-sharing and collaborative platform which directly contributes to the pursuit of the objectives of the ASCF. We welcome the updated Services Trade Access Requirements (STAR) Database and agree to explore expansion to additional services sectors. We encourage officials to leverage existing services work and indices developed by other international fora in pursuing the ASCF objectives.
30. We welcome the PSU study on APEC Work on Services and Baseline Indicators. We encourage economies to consider the recommendations of the PSU study in the multi-year implementation of the Action Plan on Statistics on Trade in Services and other areas of APEC’s work on services.
31. We welcome the recommendations of the APEC 2015 Public-Private Dialogues (PPDs) on Services and the Regional Conference of Services Coalitions, and encourage further engagement between the public and private sectors to address impediments to and to facilitate services trade growth.
32. We welcome the results of the APEC Symposia on Good Policy and Regulatory Practices for Facilitating Trade and Investment in Mining and Energy Services, and Telecommunication and ICT Services, and look forward to the upcoming Symposium on Good Policy and Regulatory Practices for Facilitating Trade and Investment in Architecture and Engineering Services. We look forward to the publication of an APEC Compendium of good practice in services in 2016, based on the eight symposia organized to date.
Next Generation Trade and Investment Issues (NGeTI)
33. We commend the work on manufacturing-related services as a next generation trade and investment issue and welcome the endorsement of the Manufacturing Related Services Action Plan and the case studies undertaken by the PSU this year. We recognize the contributions of the Action Plan to the Bogor Goals and to the vision of the ASCF, with its sector-specific approach. Looking forward to the outcome of the implementation of the Action Plan, we urge economies to take concrete actions under the Key Action Agenda.
34. We also welcome the development of the Work Plan for Advancing Facilitating Digital Trade for Inclusive Growth as a Potential NGeTI and instruct officials to implement the Work Plan’s activities including the conduct of Trade Policy Dialogues and independent research by the PSU.
Transparency and Trade Facilitation
35. We welcome the launch of the APEC Trade Repository (APECTR) as a one-stop portal for information on trade-related regulations. We instruct officials to ensure its relevance and comprehensiveness in line with our commitment to greater transparency and predictability in trade.
Global Value Chain Cooperation
36. We welcome the Progress Report on the APEC Strategic Blueprint for Promoting Global Value Chain (GVC) Development and Cooperation and instruct officials to advance the implementation of the Strategic Blueprint through the initiatives and work plans under the different work streams. We commit to work towards a more focused GVC evolution inclusive of MSMEs to facilitate sustainable, inclusive, and balanced growth in the Asia-Pacific region including through enhancing the resilience of GVCs to various risks such as natural and man-made disasters.
37. We welcome the work to explore actions on improving the investment climate for GVC development through the study and the related public-private dialogues to be conducted in sub-regions in 2016. We instruct officials to advance this work with a view to further facilitating cross-border investment flows in GVCs.
38. We welcome the meetings of the Technical Group on Measurement of APEC Trade in Value Added (TiVA) under Global Value Chains and urge officials to implement the Terms of Reference on the Operational Mechanism and Work Plan of the Technical Group. We welcome the preparatory work undertaken on the construction of the APEC TiVA Database and anticipate its completion by 2018. We encourage more inputs from members and other stakeholders to the construction of the database. We note that information on MSMEs is crucial to the design of policies and programs aimed at MSME growth and internationalization by fostering the linking and matching of sources of MSME-relevant information.
39. We welcome the results of the trade policy dialogue on how the 2013 APEC Best Practices to Create Jobs and Increase Competitiveness could be applied to other types of localization policies. We instruct officials to continue to identify alternatives to localization policies and develop best practices as a means to foster job creation and increase competitiveness.
40. We reiterate the importance of collaborative efforts to enhance cross-border value chain resilience as an emerging trade and investment issue in the region. We welcome the endorsement of the APEC Guidebook on Resilience of GVCs to Natural Disasters and the capacity building seminar in 2016 for promoting efforts to enhance resilience of GVCs to natural disasters, contributing in particular to improving the investment environment and enhancing MSMEs’ participation in GVCs, as well as to disaster risk reduction.
41. In view of the important elements of complementarity in trade and investment in strengthening Regional Value Chains in Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), we look forward to the Study on the Enhancement of Integration of Regional Value Chains in Asia and LAC, as well as PPD to be held in 2016.
Supply Chain Connectivity
42. We note the interim progress report on the Supply Chain Connectivity Framework Action Plan (SCFAP) provided by the PSU and the implementation of the Action Plan in support of our Leaders’ APEC-wide target of achieving a 10 percent improvement in supply chain performance as we progress towards a complete final assessment of SCFAP in 2016.
43. We encourage APEC’s continued participation in the Capacity Building Plan to Improve Supply Chain Performance (CBPISCP), particularly on pre-arrival processing, expedited shipments, advance rulings, release of goods, and electronic payments. We appreciate the contributions of the APEC Alliance on Supply Chain Connectivity (A2C2) as an advisory group in the implementation of the CBPISCP and look forward to A2C2 continuing this important work.
44. We welcome the progress of pilot projects by volunteer economies to demonstrate the benefits and challenges in using interoperable Global Data Standards (GDS). We look forward to the outcomes of the PSU study on the Application of GDS for Supply Chain Connectivity, which will assess GDS costs and benefits based on the pilot projects and establish a set of policy-based recommendations to promote the wider use of interoperable GDS. We encourage more economies to make use of pilot projects for first-hand experience and capacity building on GDS, and note that the wine pilot has already commenced in November 2015, and other pilots including pharmaceutical products are expected to be launched in 2016.
45. We welcome the launch of the Tianjin Pilot Center of APEC Cooperation Network on Green Supply Chains (GSCNET), and the outcomes of the GSCNET Dialogue held in May. We endorse the Work Plan of the GSCNET and encourage members to establish more Pilot Centers to promote cooperation to this end.
46. We commend the work on customs trade facilitation and secure travel and trade. We welcome the endorsement of the APEC Principles on the Movement of Humanitarian Goods and Equipment during Emergencies and encourage officials to apply them to our continuing efforts to reduce barriers to the movement of goods to disaster areas. We look forward to the progress of work on the Single Window, Advanced Risk Management, Passenger Name Record, and Authorized Economic Operators (AEO). We also look forward to the completion of APEC Best Practices on Authorized Economic Operators in 2016 which will help develop trade facilitation frameworks that allow efficient transport of legitimate cargo processing, in line with World Customs Organization instruments, tools and standards, and will widen the network of AEO mutual recognition arrangements.
47. We commend the work on the Asia-Pacific Model E-Port Network (APMEN) and welcome the establishment of the APMEN Operational Center, the PPD and the second meeting of the Joint Operational Group of APMEN in Shanghai. We endorse the Strategic Framework and the Working Mechanism of APMEN and encourage more economies to join the APMEN.
48. As we harness ICT for cross-border trade, we instruct officials to look into the development of the e-port and single window systems, taking into consideration ICT technology accessibility, economies’ levels of development, and the ongoing work in APEC.
49. We welcome the progress achieved by APEC member economies in the area of cross border e-commerce aiming at facilitating its development and the result of the first APEC workshop on customs control over cross border e-commerce.
50. We welcome the work undertaken in carrying out the 2013 mandate of exploring trade in products which contribute to sustainable and inclusive growth through rural development and poverty alleviation, and task officials to continue work in this area.
51. We welcome the results of the PPD on Investment: Fostering MSME Growth through Inclusive Business and the High-Level Dialogue on Inclusive Business. We instruct officials to undertake more work on understanding inclusive business in major sectors, especially agribusiness, manufacturing, housing, tourism, forestry and fisheries, and its role in sustainable and inclusive growth through sharing of experiences and by collaborating with relevant international organizations.
Strengthening Comprehensive Connectivity
52. We reaffirm our commitment to the overarching goal of a seamless, comprehensively connected, and integrated Asia-Pacific by implementing the APEC Connectivity Blueprint for 2015-2025. We encourage member economies to undertake specific actions under the pillars of physical, institutional, and people-to-people connectivity. We encourage Senior Officials to implement the agreed Dedicated Arrangement to Monitor, Review, and Evaluate the Implementation of the Blueprint.
53. We commend member economies’ efforts to advance infrastructure development including through the APEC Multi-Year Plan on Infrastructure Development and Investment (MYPIDI). We welcome the Reference Guide for Peer Review and Capacity Building on APEC Infrastructure Development and Investment, the progress of the Study on Infrastructure Investment in the APEC Region, and the progress on the Promoting Cruise Visits to Ports in the APEC Region, and on the Exploration on the Strengthening of Maritime Connectivity initiatives.
54. We also commend economies’ initiatives to achieve comprehensive regional connectivity, which is being jointly built through consultation to meet the interests of all. We encourage economies to further implement these initiatives in order to promote policy coordination, facilities connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration, and people-to-people bonds in the Asia-Pacific region.
Transportation Secretary Jun Abaya inspects the assembly of MRT coaches at the LRT Depot in Pasay City.(PHOTO BY ALI VICOY)
55. We commit to accelerate our efforts to enhance productivity through safe, secure, efficient, and sustainable transportation systems, and to promote innovations in the transportation sector as we move towards achieving inclusive mobility and global supply chain resilience, while recognizing the importance of aviation and maritime safety and security.
56. We support the diversification of transport and logistics supply chains in the Asia-Pacific region to enhance APEC’s connectivity and economic growth. We recognize that the ITS and Global Navigation Satellite Systems are crucial to create commercial, safe, and secure supply chains.
57. We encourage the Transportation Working Group (TPTWG) to begin working on reducing marine pollution from ships operating in the APEC region through capacity building, aimed at enhancing economies’ ability to effectively enforce the MARPOL 73/78.
58. We welcome the work to support the implementation of the APEC Supply-Chain Connectivity Framework Action Plan through projects including: Promoting Regional Economic Integration by Deriving Supply Chain Connectivity Benefits over Cross-Cutting Issues in Transport, Energy, Environment and Human Health; Global Supply Chain Resilience (Phase 3); and International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code Implementation Assistance Program (ICIAP). We support the APEC Seven Principles of Supply Chain Resilience and commit to its multi-year implementation.
59. We recognize that an open and liberal international aviation regime and developed international air services are essential to continued economic growth and trade facilitation in the APEC region. We encourage economies to actively continue to pursue the goal of market access liberalization through existing avenues including bilateral and multilateral agreements, for example, the Multilateral Agreement on the Liberalization of International Air Transportation, and the exploration of additional avenues in line with the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) long-term vision for international air transport liberalization.
60. We also welcome the progress of various initiatives including the development of an APEC Connectivity Map, an APEC Inclusive Mobility Framework, PPP Best Practices, and Quality Transport Vision, and efforts to reduce aviation emissions. We acknowledge the establishment of a task force for an APEC-wide transport card in the TPTWG.
61. We endorse the State of APEC Tourism Report and encourage efforts to achieve the target of 800 million international tourists among APEC economies by 2025 as stated by Tourism Ministers in the 2014 Macao Declaration.
62. We endorse the Tourism Working Group’s (TWG) Strategic Plan 2015-2019 to promote competitiveness and regional economic integration through policy alignment and structural reform, and welcome Peru’s hosting of the Tourism Ministerial Meeting in 2016.
63. We encourage relevant Working Groups to work closely with the TWG to promote green, sustainable, and inclusive tourism development, increase connectivity, improve travel facilitation, invest in infrastructure to support demand, ensure sustainable use of cultural and environmental assets, and develop a mobile and skilled workforce to propel the growth of travel and tourism in the APEC region.
64. We note the mid-term assessment of the Travel Facilitation Initiative (TFI) and we instruct officials to consider and implement the necessary recommendations to make the TFI as effective and efficient as possible.
65. We commend the extension of validity of the APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC) from three to a maximum of five years beginning 1 September 2015. We appreciate the efforts of transitional members of the ABTC scheme to become full members.
(AP File Photo/Andy Wong)
Internet and Digital Economy
66. We commit to take a constructive role in promoting the internet and digital economy and strengthening efforts to harness its full potential as an enabler of inclusive economic growth, and encourage secure cross-border flows of information, taking into account the need to bridge the digital divide. We welcome the progress in implementing the APEC Initiative of Cooperation to Promote Internet Economy. We recognize the importance of the APEC Cross-Border Privacy Rule (CBPR) Systems to facilitate trade, and welcome the increased participation of APEC economies in the CBPR System. We note the role of the Ad Hoc Steering Group on the Internet Economy which will promote cooperation and facilitate technological and policy exchanges, and look forward to its stock-take of APEC initiatives on cross-cutting internet and digital economy issues.
Telecommunications and Information
67. We welcome the increased collaboration by the Telecommunication and Information Working Group (TELWG) with other APEC fora, including coordination with the Emergency Preparedness Working Group (EPWG) on disaster preparedness, response, and recovery through the development of ICTs and appropriate systems; with the Ad Hoc Steering Group on the Internet Economy and the Electronic-Commerce Steering Group (ECSG) on the benefits of the Internet and Digital Economy; with the Small and Medium Enterprises Working Group (SMEWG) on the promotion of safe, efficient, low-cost, and inclusive internet financial services for MSMEs; and with the Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy (PPWE) on facilitating women’s livelihood development and resilience with ICTs.
68. e encourage the implementation of the TELWG Strategic Action Plan 2016-2020 which promotes online connectivity, and the development of the ECSG strategic plan, which together will help maximize the potential of the internet in unlocking next generation growth across Asia-Pacific. We welcome the efforts of TELWG to cooperate with other fora to ensure a secure and trusted ICT environment, which would foster economic development.
Regulatory Coherence and Cooperation
69. We welcome the results of the 8th Conference on Good Regulatory Practices and its contribution to creating a sound regulatory environment and advancing regulatory coherence and cooperation. We welcome the update on the 2013 Baseline Study of Good Regulatory Practices in APEC Member Economies and the outcomes of the EC workshop on International Regulatory Cooperation: Cooperation in Action, and encourage economies to continue sharing practical experiences and knowledge about undertaking regulatory cooperation in different ways. We support the theme of building high level support for regulatory reform (including international regulatory cooperation) at next year’s Conference on Good Regulatory Practices in Peru.
70. We will continue to implement initiatives on regulatory coherence and cooperation and maximize the role of the internet and information technology to strengthen the implementation of public consultation and other good regulatory practices.
71. Through the APEC Regulatory Cooperation Advancement Mechanism (ARCAM) on Trade-related Standards and Technical Regulations, we note the endorsement of the Principles for Government’s Role in Promoting Effective Advertising Standards and instruct officials to advance work in this area in 2016, and encourage continued discussions on implementation of the APEC Action Agenda on Advertising Standards and Practices and other relevant issues that may be identified.
72. We recognize the importance of promoting the protection and enforcement of an effective, comprehensive, and balanced intellectual property (IP) system to incentivize creativity and create an enabling environment for innovation. We recognize that MSMEs can leverage their IP assets such as brands and trademarks for growth and expansion to assist MSMEs develop competitive and global brands. We welcome the report on Trade Secrets Protection and Enforcement in APEC Economies and acknowledge that trade secrets protections are useful in helping MSMEs go global and we welcome further work on this issue. We welcome the progress towards developing the APEC Best Practices in Trade Secrets Protection and Enforcement and encourage officials to continue the work and to complete it on the basis of consensus at the earliest possible time. We agree to foster cooperation in intellectual property rights promotion, protection and enforcement, and enhance MSMEs’ capacity for IP commercialization, IP marketing, and reduction of innovation risks in IP management.
73. We recognize the need to support quality research activities of academic and research institutions particularly in the areas of innovation and technological advancements and to promote their resulting IP assets towards adoption and utilization.
Standards and Conformance
74. We note the work of the Wine Regulatory Forum, under the Sub-Committee on Standards and Conformance (SCSC), on the model wine export certificate as a means to streamline export certificate requirements. We instruct officials to explore other areas where similar trade facilitative initiatives may be applied.
Students take time out by eating food outside of their school in Epefanio Delos Santos Elementary School (MB Photo by Ali Vicoy)
Food Safety Cooperation
75. We commend the efforts of the Food Safety Cooperation Forum (FSCF) and its Partnership Training Institute Network (PTIN) to promote regulatory frameworks harmonized with science-based international standards, improve food safety, and ensure predictability and transparency in agri-food trade and the role it can play in building capacity and confidence, ultimately reducing non-tariff barriers (NTBs.) We look forward to the outcomes of the APEC FSCF’s continued work on regulatory convergence through continuation of work in the areas of export certificates and pesticide maximum residue limits as part of the APEC Regulatory Cooperation Plan. We note the successful completion of the FSCF PTIN capacity building activities in food inspections systems, laboratories and proficiency testing, aquaculture, antimicrobial resistance control strategies, and updates on domestic food safety standards. We commend the outcomes achieved through the FSCF PTIN Roundtable on Effective Industry/Regulator Cooperation and affirm the roundtable’s emphasis on the critical role stakeholders play in developing food safety regulation.
76. We welcome the establishment of centers of excellence for biomedical regulatory sciences in the region and look forward to strengthening our ability to reach regulatory convergence for medical product approval procedures among others by 2020.
77. We welcome the adoption of the Roadmap for Electric Vehicles to facilitate the adoption and implementation of international standards for electric vehicles, and we encourage officials to continue work on this issue in 2016.
78. We welcome the research undertaken by the Chemical Dialogue to better understand the divergences in implementation of the Globally Harmonized System for Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) and look forward to a report from the Chemical Dialogue in 2016 on the implementation of measures to reduce these divergences. We welcome the work of the APEC regulatory community to strengthen capacity in the scientific assessment of metals and metal compounds, as well as the work of the Chemical Dialogue with EC on Good Regulatory Practices.
Priority 2: Fostering Micro, Small, Medium Enterprises (MSMEs)’
Participation in Regional and Global Markets
79. We support the Boracay Action Agenda to Globalize MSMEs and welcome its Implementation Plan which demonstrates our firm commitment to pursuing actions that are practical and important for MSMEs’ participation in global trade. We instruct officials to identify areas of convergence across relevant APEC fora and work with ABAC on the complementarity of projects and efficient use of resources in implementing MSME initiatives.
80. We welcome the collaboration between the SCSC and SMEWG on standards and conformance as key to enhancing the competitiveness of MSMEs. We look forward to the development of a workplan to address standards and conformance issues faced by MSMEs.
81. We uphold our commitment to a fair and accountable competition policy regime to facilitate inclusive growth and provide a predictable business environment, particularly for MSMEs, consistent with the principles of good regulatory practices approved by the APEC Ministers in 2014.
82. We remain committed to realizing the full potential of women as economic actors in the global economy and encourage the promotion of women’s entrepreneurship as vital to sustainable and inclusive growth. We shall continue to support women-owned MSME’s to strengthen their competitiveness and ability to participate in local and global value chains.
MSMEs in Global Supply and Value Chains
83. We welcome the work on SMEs’ Participation in GVCs to implement the APEC Strategic Blueprint on GVC Development and Cooperation. We note the progress reports on the five major industries: information technology and electronics, automotive, textiles, healthcare products, and agribusiness. We instruct officials to continue cross-fora and industry consultations and networking activities in developing practical initiatives that will integrate MSMEs in GVCs. We welcome continued efforts in strengthening and developing the APEC Accelerator Network through early investment.
84. We welcome the results of the GVC MSME Automotive Sector survey which identified non-tariff measures that continue to challenge MSMEs’ participation in the automotive sector GVC. We will address these challenges through better policies and targeted capacity building.
85. We welcome the APEC Iloilo Initiative: Growing Global SMEs for Inclusive Development, a guiding framework for integrating SMEs into international trade and GVCs. We welcome the APEC MSME Marketplace as a tool to promote cooperation and linkage across MSMEs and other stakeholders. We look forward to the development in 2016 of SME internationalization indices that would serve as a measurement of the degree of SMEs’ integration into GVCs.
ICT and E-Commerce for MSMEs
86. We recognize the important role of e-commerce as a vehicle for MSMEs to participate in the global market. We welcome the proposal to Promote E-commerce to Globalize MSMEs, and note the proposal on Enabling Inclusive Growth through the Internet Economy and member economies’ efforts to promote Online-to-Offline (O2O) new business models.
87. We welcome the Digital Economy Action Plan for MSMEs and Work Agenda for MSMEs as concrete and practical steps that APEC could undertake to accelerate MSMEs’ access to international markets.
Access to Finance for MSMEs
88. We recognize the importance of encouraging financial institutions to evaluate the business models and growth potential of individual MSMEs in order to improve access to finance, and of creating a seamless financial environment for MSMEs to enhance access to GVCs. We recognize the role of public finance, such as credit guarantee systems designed for MSMEs’ operational continuity. We support efforts for closer collaboration with relevant public and private sector institutions. We welcome the commitment by the private sector and international finance organizations to collaborate with the public sector to promote legal and policy reforms that will help expand financing for MSMEs and support their participation in supply chains. We welcome the collaborative efforts of the World Bank Group, SME Finance Forum, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), ABAC, and interested APEC member economies, in establishing a Financial Infrastructure Development Network under the CAP.
89. We call for greater efforts to promote MSMEs’ resilience against unexpected events, disasters, and financial crises in order to improve global supply chain resilience. We welcome the publication of the Business Continuity Planning Guidebook in seven languages and the APEC SME Disaster Resilient Policy Framework.
90. We welcome the progress of the APEC Business Ethics for SME Initiative in addressing unethical practices in sectors of export interest to MSMEs, doubling the number of medical devices and biopharmaceutical industry association codes of ethics from 33 in 2012 to 66 in 2015. We welcome the APEC Guide to Implement Multi-Stakeholder Ethical Collaborations in these sectors and encourage member economies to advance the goals of the Nanjing Declaration to Promote Ethical Business Environments through 2020.
Priority 3: Investing in Human Capital Development
91. We recognize human capital development as an essential measure to achieve and sustain economic growth, especially through the services sector. We commit to follow through on the goals of the APEC’s work programs in line with this priority area.
Courtesy of APEC Human Resources Development technical working group
Human Resource Development and Skills Training
92. We commit to the goals of the Port Moresby Joint Statement on the 2015 High-Level Policy Dialogue on Human Capacity Building to enhance strategic cooperation in human capital development geared towards developing 21st century skills that are aligned with global education and training best practices, and that increase people’s employability, productivity, and ability to respond to emerging business demands.
93. We welcome efforts to advance human resource development competitiveness in the region, to facilitate the mobility of skilled labor, and to ensure the quality of skills and competencies that meet the supply chain demands of the region. We commit to promote projects such as the APEC Labor Market Portal, APEC Occupational Standards Referencing Framework, APEC Skills Development Capacity Building Alliance, APEC Vocational Training Project in Cooperation with Enterprises, and efforts to ensure quality of training.
94. We support the APEC Human Resource Development Working Group (HRDWG) 2015-2018 Action Plan and its initiatives directed towards vulnerable and disadvantaged groups in society, such as persons with disabilities, women and youth, as well as mobile workers. We welcome the outcomes of the APEC Seminar on Facilitating Human Resource Mobility by Enhancing Social Protection, which recognizes the contributions of global workers to economic growth. We call on the APEC HRDWG to identify policy priorities concerning global workers and address gaps in enhancing their social protection.
95. We recognize that the success of a safe, secure, effective and seamless transport system in the APEC region depends largely on the competence of human resources. Therefore, we encourage economies to put more effort into collaborating on developing joint personnel training on smart and green supply chain connectivity.
(MB File Photo by Ali Vicoy)
96. We endorse the Joint Statement of the 1st High-Level Policy Dialogue on Science and Technology in Higher Education aimed at advancing cross-border education, inter-university collaboration on science and technology, and the international mobility of academics, researchers, and students as drivers of technological advancements, innovation, and economic growth. We commit to strengthen efforts that put science, technology, and innovation as well as higher education at the forefront of economic policy-making and strategic planning, following the mandate of the APEC 2012 Leaders’ Declaration on Promoting Cross-Border Education Cooperation.
97. We welcome the results of the 4th APEC Conference on Cooperation in Higher Education in Vladivostok, which met under the theme Human Capital Development for Inclusive Economic Growth to explore human resource development, to enhance the link between human capacity building and employment needs through effective mechanisms for cross-border education and collaboration between universities and businesses across APEC.
98. We welcome the preparations for the 2016 APEC Education Ministerial Meeting (AEMM), to advance our work on cross-border education, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education, educational innovation, work-integrated learning, qualifications frameworks, among others. The 6th AEMM will be co-chaired by Peru, as host, and Russia and organized in coordination with the HRDWG and its networks (Education Network (EDNET), Labor and Social Protection Network (LSPN), and Capacity Building Network (CBN).
99. We welcome the early realization of our 2020 target of 1 million intra-APEC university-level students per year. We will further support the enhancement of mobility of students, researchers, and education providers, including economies’ contributions to the APEC Scholarship Initiative. We welcome the establishment of the APEC Higher Education Research Center and its initiatives and activities that strengthen higher education exchange and cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. We support efforts for economies to cooperate on education best practices such as through the development of APEC Education Cooperation strategies, based on the report of the Education Cooperation Project to be submitted to the 6th AEMM. We reaffirm our Leaders’ commitment to promote cross-border education cooperation and encourage economies to update and advance the APEC Workplan on Promoting Cross-Border Education Cooperation.
Science & Technology
100. We endorse the Policy Partnership of Science, Technology and Innovation (PPSTI) Policy Statement on the development of common approaches to STI policies that encourage joint R&D and STI activities, advise APEC policy-making, and support commercialization and popularization of research and market-based innovations through policy translation.
101. We welcome the continuous efforts to stimulate health science innovation through the APEC Bio-Medical Technology Commercialization Training Centers.
102. We note the importance of science in disaster risk reduction and welcome the recent discussion of the Chief Science Advisors and Equivalents (CSAE) Meeting on how the provision of science advice before, during and after emergencies can contribute to risk reduction and effective disaster response. We look forward to the CSAE’s continued inputs that support the activities of existing APEC policy partnerships and working groups. The CSAE is well positioned to provide effective science advice in an APEC context, acting as a collective resource within the region, in a manner similar to the roles played in their individual economies.
103. We encourage continued engagement of all stakeholders, including the science community, in finding long-term solutions and integrated approaches to addressing the effects of climate change. We welcome the results of the 2015 APEC Science Prize for Innovation, Research and Education (ASPIRE) with its theme Disaster Risk Reduction: Understanding the Role of Climate Change and Variability which promotes the cross-border scientific collaboration that is critical to solving the region’s shared challenges. We welcome the progress of the APEC Internet of Vehicles and APEC Smart City projects, and the APEC Regional Workshop on Measurement Challenges in Renewable Energy and Climate Science.
Women and the Economy
104. We endorse the Strategic Plan of the PPWE 2015-2018 to advance women’s full and equal economic participation across the APEC work streams, in particular through improved access to capital and assets; access to markets; skills, capacity building, and health; women’s leadership, voice, and agency; and innovation and technology. We welcome the revision of the PPWE Terms of Reference which now allows the holding of up to two annual PPWE meetings, if necessary.
105. We welcome initiatives to ensure mainstreaming of gender perspectives in APEC. These include: Women and the Economy Dashboard; Policy Toolkit on Healthy Women, Healthy Economies; Women’s Entrepreneurship in APEC (WE-APEC); the 50 Leading Companies for Women in APEC; the Individual Action Plan for the Enhancement of the Ratio of Women’s Representation in Leadership; the Multi-Year project on Innovation for Women and Economic Development on women’s access to technology and ICT tools; the Good Practices of Women’s Entrepreneurship in Local Communities in the Process of Disaster Reconstruction initiative; Promoting SME development: Assisting Women-led SMEs Access the Global Market; and the Guide on Gender Criteria for APEC Project Proposals.
106. We commend the work of the Women in Transportation Task Force within the TPTWG and the framework for women’s inclusion in transportation through education, recruitment, retention, leadership, and safe use and access to transportation systems. We support the use of data collection to track the effectiveness of actions to increase women’s inclusion in transportation.
107. We also encourage economies to promote women’s representation and leadership in all sectors and encourage fora to share best practices for expanding women’s education, recruitment, and retention.
Grade 3 pupils from Mandaluyong City perform proper hand washing techniques prior to taking oral deworming tablets yesterday, designated by the Department of Health as National Deworming Day. (MB Photo by Mark Balmores)
108. We encourage economies to implement the Roadmap for the Healthy Asia Pacific 2020 which identifies five critical success factors in overcoming health challenges: (a) securing a whole-of-government commitment to health; (b) establishing platforms for policy dialogue and stakeholder engagement; (c) promote prevention, control and awareness in health care; (d) enabling innovation; and (e) enhance intersectoral and cross-border collaboration. We urge economies to develop sustainable and high performing health systems, promote health development and well-being through a holistic approach with a view to achieving Universal Health Coverage as outlined in the statement from the 5th High-Level Meeting on Health and the Economy. We recommend convening a cross-fora dialogue in 2016 to discuss innovative ways of ensuring that our workforce remains healthy and competitive. We welcome the launch of the APEC Health Sciences Academy at Peking University.
109. We urge all APEC economies to focus on improving health emergency preparedness, surveillance, and response and recovery systems for public health events. We call on economies to continue to implement the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Health Regulations (2005), where appropriate. We welcome the development of the APEC Working Manual of Health Hotline Responding to Public Health Emergencies, the APEC Healthcare Acquired Infections Policy Guidelines, the APEC Blood Supply Chain 2020 Roadmap, and the establishment of the Blood Supply Chain Partnership Training Network.
110. We recognize addressing mental illness as a priority health need and we affirm our support to the WHO Mental Health Action Plan. We welcome initiatives in APEC to share best practices and promote innovative partnerships to improve access to mental health services such as efforts to establish an interactive digital hub by year’s end to promote mental wellness in the region.
111. We call on economies to reduce barriers to trade and investment in the supply chain of healthcare products. We support the establishment of an APEC Regulatory Sciences Center of Excellence (COE) for multi-regional clinical trials to promote global drug development and training on good clinical practices and reach regulatory convergence for medical product approval procedures by 2020.
112. We commit to support one another in building the necessary capacity to effectively prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease threats. We welcome private sector contributions in some economies to infection prevention and control through initiatives, such as the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), including through support packages, such as hand hygiene that will help to accelerate capacity to implement WHO International Health Regulations and programs related to bolstering infection prevention and control, and reducing anti-microbial resistance, provided that such efforts do not duplicate or substitute the WHO and other pertinent universal organizations and international legal instruments in this area.
Persons with Disabilities
113. We commit to enhance the economic empowerment of persons with disabilities and endeavor to eliminate barriers to their economic participation. We reaffirm their significant role in economic development as agents and beneficiaries in the process of building inclusive economies and we encourage officials to take measures to promote the value of persons with disabilities as workers, investors and participants in economic development. We commend the work of the APEC Group of Friends on Disability to promote sharing of information, resources, and good practices that will advance the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the economy.
Priority 4: Building Sustainable and Resilient Communities
A picture taken on November 4, 2015 shows a small globe above a fire to illustrate global warming. France will be hosting and presiding the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21/CMP11), also known as Paris 2015 from November 30 to December 11. AFP PHOTO / LIONEL BONAVENTURE
114. Bearing in mind that climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time and its adverse impacts undermine the ability of all economies to achieve sustainable development, we recognize that urgent and concrete action is required to address climate change. We affirm our commitment to cooperate closely toward the adoption of a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force applicable to all Parties under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris to be held in December 2015.
115. We acknowledge the importance of strengthening early warning systems for climate resilient development and adaptation to climate change. We encourage continued engagement of all stakeholders, including the science community, in finding long-term solutions and integrated approaches to adapting to climate change. We support activities of the APEC Climate Center (APCC), including the provision of reliable climate information and development of application techniques by utilizing the most advanced scientific technologies.
116. We encourage efforts to achieve the APEC aspirational target of reducing aggregate energy intensity by 45 percent from 2005 levels by 2035 through collaboration on energy-efficient and low carbon development inclu