Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs
October 16, 2001
Summary of the 2001 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Ministerial Meetings
APEC held seven ministerial-level meetings in 2001. A summary of the results of the ministerial meetings follows:
The APEC HRD Ministerial Meeting in Kumamoto, Japan held on September 29-30 2001 meeting focused on the role of HRD development in the context of the new economy. The formal theme was "Human resources development for both the advancement of society and economy and the sharing of prosperity with people in the context of globalization." Debate was primarily between the developing economies that would like to use this as a vehicle to learn about training techniques and open the door to greater dissemination of training and technology to the developing world. The U.S. and some developed economies emphasize that balanced development in economies entails not just training, but a concomitant commitment to better workplaces, smoothly functioning labor markets, and basic education.
The outcome will probably focus on how to address the digital divide, in the context of a comprehensive approach that addresses the full range of relevant issues.
APEC Trade Ministers met in Shanghai, China on June 6-7 2001. All 21 APEC member economies participated.
The Ministers noted the meeting was convened at a time when the economy in the region is experiencing a slowdown. To revitalize their respective economies ministers agreed to enhance bilateral and multilateral cooperation to promote free and open trade and investment. Ministers reaffirmed APEC's strong support for an open, equitable, sound and rule-based multilateral trading system, from which all economies stand to benefit.
Ministers recognized the importance of revitalizing the trade and investment liberalization process in APEC to advance the Bogor goals and contribute to global trade expansion.
Small and Medium Size Enterprise (SME) Ministerial
The APEC Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Ministerial was held August 29-30 in Shanghai. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Market Access and Compliance, other U.S.G. officials and a number of American business and association representatives formed the U.S. delegation. The private sector delegates participated in an APEC SME Business Forum and Exhibition, held concurrently with the Ministerial. Ministers also held a very useful and constructive session with the business representatives during the Ministerial meeting.
SME Ministers reaffirmed their commitment for greater involvement by the private sector in developing SME projects and policy proposals. They also discussed thematic issues of advancing technological innovation, facilitating financing and improving the environment for SME development. Ministers stated that it is of vital importance to improve the efficiency and competitiveness of SMEs in the face of an increasingly globalize and knowledge-based economy.
The major world economies are experiencing a slowdown and forecasts for global growth have been revised downward. Most economies in the APEC region have experienced an economic downturn, with a slowdown in the IT sector, weaker financial market performance and, for many developing countries reduced capital inflow and foreign direct investment. Globalization is crucial to improving living standards.
Delegates discussed the Strategic Goals of the AFMM, which was proposed by New Zealand. The goals include five parts:
- Sustainable and broad-based growth with equity in the APEC region;
- Good corporate governance and public sectors management;
- Stable and efficient financial markets;
- Greater economic cooperation, integration ndopenness among APEC economies;
- Facilitation for economic and technical cooperation within the region in pursuit of the above goals.
- Facilitation of economic and technical cooperation within the region in pursuit of the above goals.
According to the statement, delegates listened to the reports presented by the APEC Business Advisory Committee (ABAC), APEC Financiers Group (AFG) and Pacific Economic Cooperation Committee (PECC), and had a dialogue with them on issues of common interest.
Prior to the conclusion of the meeting, Ministers adopted the three reports: the Joint Ministerial Statements for the 8th AFMM; APEC Finance Ministers' Input to the APEC Economic Leaders' Declaration; and the Progress Report on Reform of the International Financial Architecture. The three reports will be submitted to the 9th APEC Economic Leaders Meeting to be held in Shanghai in October this year. According to the Joint Ministerial Statement of the 8th AFMM, the ministers took stock of the latest global and regional macroeconomic developments and the policy challenges faced by APEC economies. They called for capacity building in policy areas that directly contribute to financial stability and economic growth in the region and asked to look at ways to encourage greater economic integration openness across the region.