AAP staff report
Beppu, Japan (August 8, 2010) – The Asian Pacific Economic Program, a forum with a goal of supporting sustainable economic growth and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region, met in Beppu, Japan earlier this month to discuss APEC growth strategy and high-level policies that impact regional growth.
The meeting was officiated under the chairmanship of H.E. Masayuki Naoshima, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Japan and H.E. Satoshi Arai, Minister of State for National Policy and Minister of State for Economic and Fiscal Policy, Japan.
Participants included the APEC Business Advisory Council and ministerial level officials including President of Asian Development Bank; Executive Director of International Energy Agency; Chairperson of the Governing Board, Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA); and Vice President, East Asia and Pacific of the World Bank.
Last year, the APEC Economic Leaders agreed to formulate an APEC Growth Strategy in 2010 to shape the region’s growth following the financial and economic crisis. APEC is formulating its Growth Strategy for the first time since its inception.
The discussions among senior officials and trade ministers gave the Round Table an addition opportunity for the first opportunity of APEC members to focus on comprehensive discussion with regard to the APEC growth strategy. This enabled heads of delegations to offer expertise and significant value to the plan and a shared understanding with direction.
The meeting priority was APEC’s need for a growth strategy. The region has become an international growth center by promoting free and open trade and investment and strengthening regional economic integration (REI).
The participants recognized that liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment would further contribute to growth in APEC economies. They pledged to continue efforts to achieve further regional growth.
The leaders noted that in recent years new challenges have come to the forefront and added to the APEC agenda. Some of them include energy and environmental constraints, human security concerns, the necessity of constant innovation, and economic performance and opportunity disparities within and across the economies.
The leaders said that APEC must provide greater attention than before to the new issues with a focus on long-term and sustained growth for collective prosperity.
As the world’s leading growth center, the APEC region has a great responsibility for the future course of the global economy beyond the region as well as for the welfare and prosperity of its own people. The Ministers Responsible for Trade declared in Sapporo this year that “the Growth Strategy aims to achieve economic growth that is balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure.”
These five attributes for economic growth are being emphasized in the APEC Growth Strategy or they might otherwise pass on to the next generation that would not be in a position to enjoy sustained growth. The interrelated and mutually reinforcing attributes require collective commitment and implementation to be realized in practice.
APEC leaders agreed on a growth strategy with sufficient action-oriented elements such as an action plan and follow-up mechanisms to translate the attributes into collective concrete actions by member economies and reviewed annually until the strategy is revisited in 2015.
In addition to the above broad statements, APEC summarized individual sessions on the five attributes that would complement the G20 efforts in pursuing balanced growth in the region.
A meeting outcome recommended could contribute to balanced growth by re-energizing its work on structural reforms, building on ongoing efforts under the Leaders’ Agenda to Implement Structural Reform.
Another session recommended that citizens should have the opportunity to thrive in the global market economy. It said APEC should contribute to inclusive growth by promoting policies in fields such as job creation, human resource development and utilization, SMEs and entrepreneurship development, creating new economic opportunities for women, and more inclusive access to finance.
The session on Sustainable Growth reported that in order to shift to a green economy, APEC should further promote energy efficiency and the development of a low-carbon energy sector. APEC would work to improve access for environmental goods and services (EGS), to develop EGS sectors, and promote energy conservation activities through green ICT.
The session on Innovative Growth reported that APEC should contribute to by improving the environment for research and development and effectively providing policy and regulatory infrastructure conducive to innovation, such as those related to ICT application, digital prosperity, professional workforce mobility, protection of intellectual property (IP) rights, and standardization.
In the areas of Secure Growth, APEC members said to promote the human security agenda to provide the secure environment necessary for economic growth. APEC can contribute to secure growth by continuing to promote policies in fields such as counter terrorism, prevention and countering of emergency preparedness, pandemic diseases, and food security.
In addition to the foregoing general conclusions from each session, the participants from member economies as well as from industry and academia had an active discussion, shared ideas, and exchanged views on how APEC could promote these growth attributes in concrete terms.
The November APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting will be held in Yokohama.