APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting
Joint Ministers Press Conference
24 May 2015, Boracay Island, Aklan
Press Statement of Secretary Gregory L. Domingo
APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT) met here in Boracay on 23 – 24 May under the Chairmanship of the Philippines.
We welcome the participation in the meeting of the Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the 2015 Chair of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the APEC Secretariat.
We reaffirm our commitment to promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation and strengthen economic and technical cooperation to achieve inclusive growth and attain the common goals of development, prosperity and progress. We are committed to building an open economy in the Asia Pacific region featuring innovative development, interconnected growth and shared interests. We shared ideas and exchanged views on important trade and investment issues to build consensus on how we can work together effectively and efficiently for the betterment of the APEC region.
To advance our work this year, we adopted the APEC 2015 theme of “Building Inclusive Economies, Building a Better World” and focused our discussions on many issues. I would like to highlight the results of our meeting in the following priority areas:
- Support for the Multilateral Trading System
On the WTO, we are all encouraged by the progress made by the WTO to implement the Bali Package resulting from the 9th Ministerial Conference (MC9). With the adoption of the Protocol of Amendment for the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), three (3) APEC members have already notified their acceptance of the protocol. All APEC members have committed to submit the instruments of acceptance to the WTO by the 10th Ministerial Conference.
- Enhancing the Regional Economic Integration Agenda
We started the process for the Collective Strategic Study on Issues Related to the Realization of the FTAAP (‘Collective Strategic Study’). We have a Task Force which will undertake the Collective Strategic Study. The study will be completed in 2016 but we will have a report on its progress by the APEC Leaders’ Week this November.
In our meeting, we reaffirmed our green growth objective to reduce our applied tariffs to five percent or less by the end of 2015 on the APEC List of Environmental Goods as endorsed by Leaders in 2012. By November 2015, we hope to demonstrate APEC’s successful achievement of this ground-breaking commitment.
We continue to make good progress towards a seamless and comprehensively connected and integrated Asia Pacific region by implementing the APEC Connectivity Blueprint for 2015-2025. We have many initiatives, including on improving connectivity to and from remote areas (led by Indonesia).
We will continue to develop theAPEC Services Cooperation Framework (ASCF) and the APEC Virtual Knowledge Centre on Services. The services sector is an important componentand economic dynamism in all our economies. We will promote an enabling environment for services trade and investment as well as improve the competitiveness of our services sectors to meet the Bogor Goals and strengthen regional economic integration.
- Fostering MSMEs’ Participation in Regional and Global Markets
We recognize that micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are an important force in economic activity, growth, job creation, community resilience and innovation. We will complement APEC’s initiatives on promoting SMEs’ participation in GVCs with an agenda that will support micro and small enterprises as direct exporters.
At our meeting, we endorsed Boracay Action Agenda to Globalize MSMEs. This is an action-oriented initiative that supports APEC’s on-going work to address the barriers faced by MSMEs in international trade. Through the Boracay Action Agenda to Globalize MSMEs, we will facilitate micro and small enterprises’ access to regional and global markets
For this, we identified priority areas for cooperation and action on trade facilitation, e-commerce, financing and institutional support, including for women-led MSMEs.
The complete set of statements will be available at the APEC Secretariat Website.