Pleasing Outcome From APEC Ministerial Meeting

APEC Trade and Foreign Ministers have just finished meeting in Lima, Peru.  This is the 20th meeting of these Ministers since APEC was established in Canberra in 1989.  It has been my privilege to attend the Ministerial meetings in Singapore, Vancouver, Kuala Lumpur, Auckland, Brunei and Santiago.  I was unfortunately not able to make it to Peru this year, but maybe I can be in Singapore for their second go at hosting.  I was keen to go for a range of reasons – to help lobby for the Trans Pacific Partnership, for progress in the WTO Round, for progress on the Korea and Japan FTAs, and because I have given a lecture each of the past two years to groups of Peruvian officials being trained at Victoria University of Wellington in “APEC English”.  I was keen to see how the officials had done.

This year’s APEC meeting must have been a bit like the meeting in Vancouver.  In Vancouver the Asian financial crisis was just breaking.  Ministers were unsure how to react.  There must be some uncertainty out there now about the best reaction to current financial market difficulties but I was pleased to see that Ministers have agreed that the correct response is to keep markets open and continue to strive for further liberalisation.

You can read the full Ministerial Statement here.

The Chamber has issued the following statement of support for this Ministerial outcome

The Wellington Regional Chamber of Commerce has welcomed the commitment of Ministers at the 20th APEC Ministerial Meeting in Lima to free and open trade and investment. Today’s joint statement emphasised that this commitment is doubly important as a response to the global financial crisis.

“It is particularly important for the world economy that countries remain open in this time of crisis and businesses will be very pleased that APEC Ministers have recognised this today,” said Chamber CEO Charles Finny.

“APEC’s primary purpose must be to free up trade and investment within the Asia Pacific region but it has sometimes been distracted from this objective.

“Now more than ever, governments need to publicly articulate the need for freer trade and economic openness.

“Ministers also provided strong support for a prompt and successful conclusion to the WTO Doha Development and we hope that today’s statement will provide impetus for that.

“We congratulate Foreign Minister McCully and Trade Minister Groser for their input into the statement and we look forward to the leaders’ declaration in the coming days,” Mr Finny concluded.

I will do a separate post on the possibility of a WTO Ministerial meeting in December.  As you can see from this article in the Guardian, there is still some uncertainty about this meeting proceeding.





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