By Fidel V. Ramos
Former Philippine President
The 2016 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Week started 14 November and will conclude 20 November, in the city of Lima, Perú. It brings together Leaders, Ministers and Senior Officials from 21 APEC Economies. The Member-Economies are: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, China; Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Korea, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam.
FOUNDED IN NOVEMBER, 1989, APEC IS A FORUM WHICH SEEKS TO PROMOTE THE LIBERALIZATION OF TRADE AND INVESTMENT, FACILITATE BUSINESS AND ECONOMIC COOPERATION, AND ACHIEVE PROSPERITY AMONG MEMBER -ECONOMIES:
RAPPLER.COM, (16 NOVEMBER) REPORTS: “HOW IMPORTANT ARE APEC MEMBER-ECONOMIES TO THE PHILIPPINES? FOR STARTERS, PHILIPPINE TRADE WITH APEC MEMBER-ECONOMIES, WORTH $103.18 BILLION, ACCOUNTS FOR ROUGHLY 80% OF TOTAL PHILIPPINE TRADE.”
The future of international trade policies, development, and living conditions for APEC’S three billion people will be discussed, considering these priorities:
- ADVANCING REGIONAL ECONOMIC INTEGRATION.
- ENHANCING REGIONAL FOOD MARKETS.
- SUPPORTING MICRO-SMALL-MEDIUM ENTERPRISES (MSMEs).
- BOOSTING LABOR FORCES.
THE 2016 APEC THEME
AS HOST OF APEC 2016, PERU HAS CHOSEN AS ITS GENERAL THEME “QUALITY GROWTH AND HUMAN DEVELOPMENT”, PROPOSING A STRATEGY TO FACILITATE QUALITY AND EQUITABLE GROWTH, AND THE ENHANCEMENT OF THE GROWTH STRATEGIES THAT PLACE SOCIAL AND INDIVIDUAL PROGRESS AS CENTRAL.
These proposals, implemented within the framework of free market policies and openness to trade, relate to the goal of “Inclusive Growth” espoused by Peru.
The concept of human development is used at its broadest meaning, which involves personal fulfillment and satisfaction levels of various dimensions, beyond quantitative progress. It builds on the spirit of the previous presidency of APEC 2008 in Lima when Peru championed the concept of “The Social Dimension of Globalization.”
This aspiration is not unlike that of the Philippines which has been exerting great efforts to rise above its very low ranking of 115th out of 185 member-nations in the 2015 UN Human Development Index. (But that’s another story which P. Du30 should learn).
LEADING ECONOMISTS AND THINKERS POINT OUT THAT ALTHOUGH RECENT APEC GROWTH PERFORMANCE HAS ALSO BROUGHT SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS IN THE ERADICATION OF POVERTY, PARTICULARLY IN DEVELOPING ECONOMIES, NOWADAYS THE PREVALENCE OF HIGH LEVELS OF INEQUALITY IS COMMON TO ALL ECONOMIES IN APEC.
LEADERS’ WEEK IN PERU WILL HAVE FOUR MAIN EVENTS. THE FIRST IS THE CONCLUDING APEC SENIOR OFFICIALS´ MEETING, AT THE LIMA CONVENTION CENTER (14-15 NOVEMBER). ITS GOAL IS TO DETERMINE NEW TECHNICAL MEASURES TO BOOST REGIONAL PRODUCTIVITY, JOB CREATION AND SOCIO-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT.
The second major event is the APEC Ministerial Meeting, at the Lima Convention Center (17-18 November). The Ministerial Meeting introduces actions for building next generation trade and inclusive, sustainable growth. This meeting assembles foreign affairs and trade ministers from APEC.
The third main event is the APEC CEO Summit at the Grand National Theater, Lima (17-19 November). This is a dialogue among APEC Economic Leaders and the private sector featuring the region’s leading business CEOs.
Finally, the APEC economic leaders’ Meeting happens at the Lima Convention Center on 20 November. It will be chaired by Peru President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, as host leader, and includes all other leaders. The meeting will provide the strategic vision and guidelines for collaboration in the region for the coming year.
THE DAY BEFORE, LEADERS MEET WITH REPRESENTATIVES FROM THE APEC BUSINESS ADVISORY COUNCIL (ABAC) TO DISCUSS POLICY PRIORITIES AND POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE PRIVATE SECTOR.
PRIORITIES FOR 2016
(1) INVESTING IN HUMAN CAPITAL DEVELOPMENT –– TO ENABLE OUR ECONOMIES TO TAKE A QUALITATIVE LEAP FROM A NATURAL RESOURCES-BASED ECONOMY TO A SOPHISTICATED ONE THAT IS SERVICE AND INFORMATION-ORIENTED, AND PROFICIENT IN NEW TECHNOLOGIES AND INNOVATIONS.
(2) Towards The Modernization Of MSMEs –– (prevalent in Peru and also in the region) by embracing the regional value-added-chain with the support and application of new technologies and innovations. This benefits the economy for its positive impact on the employment rate.
(3) Fostering the Regional Food Market –– The choice of promoting a regional food market that is fluid, functional and transparent is oriented on the concept of food security. Efforts by the public and private sectors to expand the beneficial effects of agro-industry through programs such as “Productive Diversification,” try to exploit this favorable position of the industry due the new levels of affluence and consumption of Asian societies.
(4) Advancing Regional Economic Integration –– APEC 2016 will promote regional integration, deepen levels of liberalization of trade and investment, and structural reforms that should accompany this process.
PERU’S CHAIR WILL REVIEW THE COLLECTIVE PROGRESS TOWARDS THE BOGOR GOALS (INDONESIA-1994) ORIENTED TO THE FULL LIBERALIZATION OF APEC ECONOMIES IN TRADE AND INVESTMENT BY 2020, AND PROMOTE THE ADOPTION OF THE STRATEGIC STUDY FOR THE REALIZATION OF THE FREE TRADE AGREEMENT OF THE ASIA PACIFIC (FTAAP), AS KEY ISSUES RELATED TO REGIONAL ECONOMIC INTEGRATION.
- DUTERTE’S MAIDEN
ACCORDING TO DFA SPECIAL SENIOR ASSISTANT FOR INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC RELATIONS LEO HERRERA-LIM, APEC IS THE “SECOND MOST IMPORTANT GROUPING FOR THE PHILIPPINES, AFTER ASEAN.” HE ALSO SUGGESTS WHAT WE CAN EXPECT FROM PRESIDENT DUTERTE’S ATTENDANCE AT HIS FIRST APEC SUMMIT, AS FOLLOWS:
(1) Interaction with world leaders like US President Barack Obama, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and Russian President Vladimir Putin. So far, no APEC leader has said they are skipping the Summit. Other leaders expected to attend are Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, and newly elected Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.
(2) Bilateral meetings between P. Duterte and other leaders. There are 2 to 4 “target” bilateral meetings being arranged between P. Duterte and other leaders. It could not be confirmed if he would be meeting with President Obama, a favorite subject of the Philippine President’s curse-laden tirades, or with President Putin, his “idol” and “hero.” P. Duterte could also have conversations with other leaders outside any scheduled arrangements. These can take place, for example, during the gala dinner on Saturday, 19 November. “There are lots of opportunities to discuss policy,” said Herrera-Lim.
(3) Other Summit Opportunities. Meetings for APEC senior officials were held as early as 14 November. But the Summit itself, involving the Leaders will take place 19-20 November. Some highlights are the dialogues between APEC Leaders and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and between the Leaders and top APEC CEOs who form the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC).
19 NOVEMBER SCHEDULE:
8 a.m. – APEC CEO Summit/ABAC Dialogue with Leaders (Peru Time)
2 p.m. – General dialogue between the 21 Leaders and 63 ABAC CEOs
3:40 p.m. – Informal dialogue between APEC and Pacific Alliance Leaders (Peru, Chile, Mexico, and Colombia)
4:40 p.m. – Informal dialogue between APEC Leaders and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
7:15 p.m. – Gala dinner hosted by Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski
20 NOVEMBER SCHEDULE:
9:30 a.m. – Dialogue at the Lima Convention Center between APEC and International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde
10:15 a.m. – APEC Economic Leaders’ Retreat I with theme, “Challenges to Free Trade and Investment in the Current Global Context”
2:30 p.m. – Leaders Retreat II with themes, “Food Security, Climate Change Adaptation and Access to Water,” and “Integrating the Asia-Pacific Towards Real and Functional Connectivity in the APEC Region”
5 p.m. – Adoption of the 24th APEC 2016 Leaders’ Declaration
7 p.m. – Tentative P. Duterte’s departure from Lima
WHAT TO EXPECT
- DUTERTE TO BRING UP PEACE AND ORDER, AND ECONOMIC AGENDA OF HIS ADMINISTRATION. HERRERA-LIM SAID P. DUTERTE IS LIKELY TO BRING UP INITIATIVES OF HIS ADMINISTRATION SUCH AS SUPPORT FOR MSMEs. APEC PRIORITIES ALSO DOVETAIL NICELY WITH THE DUTERTE GOVERNMENT’S 10-POINT SOCIO-ECONOMIC AGENDA.
- DUTERTE TO TRAVEL TO PERU VIA NEW ZEALAND, NOT U.S. INSTEAD OF TAKING A ROUTE THAT PASSES THROUGH MIAMI OR NEW YORK TO LIMA, P. DUTERTE WILL PASS THROUGH AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND. LIM-HERRERA DENIED RUMORS THAT P. DUTERTE CHOSE TO FLY TO LIMA THROUGH A ROUNDABOUT ROUTE VIA NEW ZEALAND FOR THE APEC SUMMIT TO AVOID HAVING TO LAY-OVER IN THE U.S. FLYING TO THE PERUVIAN CAPITAL VIA NEW ZEALAND ACTUALLY MAKES GOOD SENSE AS THERE IS A LARGE FILIPINO COMMUNITY IN N.Z. WHICH WAS HIT THIS WEEK BY A MASSIVE 7.8 EARTHQUAKE.
ESTABLISHED IN 1989, WITH THE PHILIPPINES AS A FOUNDING MEMBER, APEC HAS WORKED STEADILY TO REDUCE TARIFFS AND OTHER TRADE BARRIERS ACROSS ASIA-PACIFIC WITH THE OBJECTIVE TO CREATE EFFICIENT DOMESTIC ECONOMIES AND DRAMATICALLY RAISE EXPORTS. IN 2015, APEC WHOSE HOSTING VENUE ROTATES ANNUALLY AMONG ITS MEMBERS, WAS HOSTED BY THE PHILIPPINES IN MANILA. THE APEC MEMBER-ECONOMIES ACCOUNT FOR APPROXIMATELY 40% OF THE WORLD’S POPULATION, AN ESTIMATED 55% OF THE WORLD’S GDP, AND ABOUT 44% OF GLOBAL TRADE.
SINCE APEC IS THAT IMPORTANT, LET US WHO BELONG TO THE PHILIPPINE TEAM, FOR A CHANGE, AVOID INFECTIOUS FOOT-IN-THE-MOUTH-DISEASE!!!
KAYA NATIN ITO!!!
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