On May 18, the 2014 Meeting of APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade was satisfactorily closed in Qingdao. After the meeting, Gao Hucheng, the Minister of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China, and other APEC ministers responsible for trade attended the press conference to introduce related information of the meeting and answer reporters’ questions.
Gao Hucheng said that, in the meeting, extensive views were exchanged on supporting multilateral trading system and anti-protectionism, advancing construction of the Asia-Pacific free trade area, promoting cooperation of global value chain and supply chain, strengthening economic and technical cooperation, promoting innovative economic development, reform and growth, and strengthening comprehensive infrastructure and interconnection construction based on the topic of “Jointly Shaping the Future through Asia-Pacific Partnership”, a series of important consensuses were reached, and 2014 Meeting of APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade Qingdao Statement and 2014 APEC MRT Meeting Statement on Supporting Multilateral Trading System were published.
Gao Hucheng announced main achievements made in this meeting as follows:
First, APEC ministers responsible for trade reaffirmed their strong support for the multilateral trading system, and unanimously agreed to accelerate all works, implement the agreement reached, and strive to prepare “post-Bali” work plan by the end of 2014 based on the “Bali Package” agreement. All parties reaffirmed APEC members’ commitment to duly perform APEC List of Environmental Goods by the end of 2015, and welcomed Davos’s proposal on preparation for initiating plurilateral negotiation on environmental goods. The ministers gave their suggestions to the leaders that the commitment to anti-protectionism be extended from 2016 to 2018, and emphasized the importance of expansion of information technology agreement. All main participants agreed to push forward the path for creativeness, and conclude negotiation in the shortest possible time.
Second, APEC ministers agreed to take concrete actions for strengthening Regional Economic Integration (REI) and advancing Free Trade Agreement of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) from 2014, and lay a foundation for eventual realization of FTAAP; agreed to establish a new Committee on Trade and Investment (CTI) “Friends of the Chair” Group on strengthening REI and advancing FTAAP, to kick off and advance the process in a comprehensive and systematic manner towards the cooperation of FTAAP; agreed to develop the Roadmap for APEC’s Contribution to the Realization of an FTAAP to provide support and guidance for advancing the process of FTAAP; agreed to establish an APEC FTAAP information sharing mechanism to improve the transparency of each free trade area, and strengthen analysis and research on FTAAP so as to lay a solid foundation for realization of FTAAP; and agreed to further strengthen negotiation capacity building for FTAAP, and help all members (especially developing members) to improve their comprehensive and high quality negotiation capacity for free trade areas.
Third, APEC ministers agreed to continue to advance practical cooperation in terms of connectivity of global value chain and supply chain. In this regard, APEC ministers approved the APEC Strategic Blueprint for Promoting Global Value Chain Development and Cooperation and Strategic Framework on Measurement of APEC TiVA under GVCs to jointly create an accounting system and policy environment favorable for the development of global value chain; endorsed the APEC Initiative on Asia-Pacific Model E-port Network (APMEN), APEC Supply Chain Union Initiative and APEC Strategic Framework of Mutual Recognition, Mutual Assistance and Mutual Sharing in Customs Procedures, agreed to promote the construction of an Asia-Pacific green supply chain network, and commit to improving the level of trade facilitation in the Asia-Pacific region; and agreed to continue to work to get through the barriers to regional supply chain joins, and achieve the goal of improving supply chain performance indices in the region by 10% before 2015 as scheduled.
Fourth, APEC ministers reaffirmed the importance of strengthening APEC’s economic and technical cooperation, and called on economies, especially the developed economies to contribute more forces to economic and technical cooperation and capacity building. To this end, APEC ministers approved the APEC Strategic Plan on Capacity Building to Promote Trade and Investment Development, and agreed to launch targeted economic and technical cooperation and capacity building so as to improve the capacity of developing member countries to achieve trade and investment development.
Fifth, APEC ministers pledged in-depth exploration of the relationship between innovative economic development, reform and growth to fully release the innovation power, reform dividend and growth potential so as to contribute to strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth of the world economy. APEC ministers agreed to promote the APEC’ consensus of innovative economic development, reform and growth, clarify long-term cooperative objectives, focus on practical cooperation in terms of experience sharing, policy dialogue and capacity building in economic reform, new economy, innovation-driven growth, inclusive support and urbanization fields, allowing Asia-Pacific region to continue to play a leading role in the new round of global economic growth.
Sixth, APEC ministers agreed to formulate APEC Blueprint on Connectivity to support the expansion of infrastructure financing channels, strengthen regional financial cooperation, and support the promotion of education, planning, regional soft interchange construction and human interaction, thus building an all-round, multi-level hybrid interconnection pattern across the Pacific Ocean based on hardware, software and human interaction trinity.
Finally, Gao Hucheng said that this meeting was held in a friendly, cooperative and constructive atmosphere, and obtained positive, practical and rich cooperation achievements to make full preparation for the success of the Informal Economic Leaders’ Meeting of APEC to be held in November this year.