APEC’s 21 member economies will finalize in 2020 a new vision for the forum’s next phase, said the APEC Secretariat’s Executive Director Dr Rebecca Sta Maria.
“We will see the completion of our long-term goal of free and open trade known as Bogor Goals at the end of this year. The question for us now is, where do we go next?” said Sta Maria to senior diplomats and business leaders at a panel discussion about the future of global trade hosted by the Asia Business Trade Association.
Since 1994, the Bogor Goals have inspired member economies to pursue individual and collective action to reduce barriers to trade and investment. These efforts have led to a region-wide reduction in average tariffs, which were 17 percent in the 1980s to around 5 percent today.
“We will take stock of what we have done for the past 30 years and work closely together to draw the next phase of the vision that will guide the forum for the next decades,” she added.
APEC has been preparing for this transition. Three bodies—the APEC Vision Group, the APEC Business Advisory Council, and the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council—have respectively issued recommendation reports for the forum’s next direction.
“There are common threads throughout the reports, including trade and investment liberalization, regional economic integration, sustainability, the digital economy, and skills,” explained Sta Maria.
During the discussion, Sta Maria highlighted APEC’s substantial achievements in 2019—Chile’s host year—which include roadmaps for women and inclusive growth, marine debris, and combatting illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Throughout 2020, APEC economies will be discussing action plans to operationalize the roadmaps, led by Malaysia as the host of APEC this year.
The first Senior Officials Meeting (SOM1), which will kick off APEC 2020 in earnest, will be held from 3 to 22 February in Putrajaya, Malaysia.