Finance Ministers from the 21 APEC member economies announced a joint statement at the conclusion of their meeting on Friday highlighting the importance of strong fiscal and budget policy that can deliver for all citizens. The statement also emphasized the urgency of safe, effective, quality-assured and affordable vaccines.The statement reflects the outcomes of the 2021 APEC Finance Ministers’ Meeting chaired by New Zealand Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson. It describes joint actions to be taken forward by APEC economies in the following priority areas:. Supporting a strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive recovery. Fiscal and budget policy and tackling long-standing challenges. Click here to view the 2021 APEC Joint Finance Ministerial Statement. Finance Ministers welcomed the continuing work on disaster risk financing and insurance, as well as promoting tax certainty and tackling tax avoidance and evasion in the region.Finance Ministers also agreed to two annexes: the new strategy for the Cebu Action Plan’s implementation and the 2021 deliverables of the Finance Ministers’ Process.Read Annex A: New Strategy for Implementation of the Cebu Action Plan. Cas Carter +64 21 341 509 at [email protected] Sidah Russell +64 21 359 235 at [email protected] . Masyitha Baziad +65 9751 2146 at [email protected] Michael Chapnick +65 9647 4847 at [email protected]
More than a year into the pandemic, APEC member economies are urged to fast-track trade policy measures and step up cooperation to tackle the ongoing crisis, according to a new policy brief by the APEC Policy Support Unit.Trade policy could facilitate the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, which is key to the fight against the pandemic, the policy brief highlights. It also states that APEC member economies should seize the opportunity to pursue initiatives to reduce or eliminate tariffs on vaccines and related goods and refrain from implementing export restrictions and prohibitions affecting those goods. While the average tariff on vaccines is very low within APEC , tariffs are much higher for several goods that are very important in the vaccine supply chain.Essential products such as alcohol solutions, freezing equipment, packaging and storage materials, as well as vials and rubber stoppers face higher average tariff rates above 5 percent. In addition, some import tariffs are very onerous, reaching as much as 30 percent and above for specific products in certain APEC economies.The policy brief recommends that member economies facilitate trade in vaccines and related supplies and equipment by securing open supply lines and preventing unexpected events from affecting the delivery of any goods in the vaccine supply chain.“APEC economies are collectively responsible for the majority of the world’s COVID-19 vaccine production,” explains Carlos Kuriyama, Senior Analyst of the APEC Policy Support Unit and the author of the policy brief.“But since vaccine production relies on a specialized network with multiple inputs originating from across the APEC region and the rest of the world, this further underscores the importance of ensuring that global supply chains are functional and resilient,” Kuriyama adds.The report shows that since the emergence of the pandemic, several APEC economies have implemented measures to facilitate trade of medical products, including reducing or eliminating import tariffs on a temporary basis as well as exempting those imported products from value-added taxes and income taxes.While those measures could help facilitate access to vaccines on a temporary basis, the policy brief proposes a better outcome could be obtained by making those measures long-lasting.In parallel, the policy brief recommends strengthening cooperation at all levels, for example, through the implementation of policies concerning intellectual property to promote technology transfer and facilitate vaccine production, as well as measures to mutually recognize good manufacturing practices, to ensure that the quality assurance for vaccines produced in one economy is valid for other economies as well.“APEC economies need to take not just individual, but also collective actions during this emergency to fight this pandemic,” says Dr Rebecca Sta Maria, E
APEC member economies must work together to promote and encourage the transition of the region’s micro, small and medium enterprises to the emerging digital economy, urged Malaysia’s Minister of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives, Dato Sri Dr. Haji Wan Junaidi Bin Tuanku Jaafar.“Going digital is not an option, it has to be done. It is a necessity to survive,” he said in his opening remarks of the APEC 26th Small and Medium Enterprises Ministerial Meeting held virtually on Friday.APEC ministers in charge of small and medium enterprise policy exchanged views to address the severe economic impact of the pandemic to MSMEs and detailed steps to build more resilient, inclusive and sustainable environment for the sector.MSMEs play a significant role in the region’s economic growth, contributing around 40 to 60 percent to the growth domestic products of most APEC economies. As a response to the pandemic, APEC members have been providing support measures for the sector ranging from tax reliefs, wage subsidies, interest rates reduction, soft loans and refinancing, so that business owners and managers can sustain their operations and continue to contribute to the global economy.“In the new normal, businesses must pivot their strategies and business models to adapt to the digital economy and incorporate innovation and technology in order to remain resilient,” he added. “Besides all the fiscal stimulus, it is equally imperative to support MSMEs to go digital while helping them to adjust and overcome the challenges.”He cautioned members of the multi-faceted challenges and concerns of going digital, including data privacy, cybersecurity, digital fraud and the digital divide. He highlighted the importance of strengthening cooperation and collaboration within APEC member economies “during and beyond this pandemic.”APEC has been consistent in acknowledging the significant contribution MSMEs give to the region’s economy and employment. In her remarks at the meeting, Dr Rebecca Fatima Sta Maria, Executive Director of the APEC Secretariat, highlighted that policy work undertaken by other APEC groups can contribute to helping MSMEs in the region.“Support for MSMEs in APEC is cross-cutting and requires close partnership within our fora and the private sector,” she said. “We need to advance progress in structural reforms, trade facilitation and digital initiatives such as the single window implementation to make it easier, faster and cheaper to do business in the region and to ensure seamless flow of good and services within economies and across the borders.”During the meeting, ministers endorsed a joint statement focusing on member economies’ commitment to support MSMEs in restarting and reviving their businesses through digitalization, innovation and technology.Ministers also endorsed a new five-year vision to reinforce business ethics and integrity in health-related sectors called Vision 2025 launched earlier this month at
The report, “Supporting MSMEs’ Digitalization Amid COVID-19,” recommends policymakers around the region to prioritize facilitation measures to make it easier for small businesses to operate online considering that the window between business survival and closure is narrowing amid the pandemic.“To remain competitive, small businesses have to adapt quickly to the new realities of the market,” said Dr Denis Hew, Director of the APEC Policy Support Unit. “There is little to no choice at all for them but to go digital, especially considering that containment measures will likely persist for some time or need to be re-introduced.”The role of small businesses is extremely significant in the APEC region. These firms contribute between 40 to 60 percent to the gross domestic product in most economies and employ around 60 percent of all workers across the 21 members. There are nearly 150 million businesses considered to be small businesses in the region.The report finds that promoting the adoption of digital tools and solutions will help small businesses tap new revenue streams, reduce costs and eliminate pain points during the COVID-19 crisis, particularly around managing transactions at a distance, delivering goods efficiently and engaging with consumers.Despite the benefits, it is crucial to recognize that digital solutions are not a panacea and have their own set of challenges, including cybersecurity and data privacy concerns, exposure to digital fraud, misinformation and digital divide and infrastructure issues.“Governments across APEC are providing relief measures for small businesses including payment deadline delays, rate cuts, income tax exemptions, wage subsidies, soft loans and refinancing,” explained APEC Policy Support Unit Analyst, Andre Wirjo, who co-authored the policy brief. “Policymakers should proactively adopt a two-pronged approach for allowing small businesses to reap the benefits while overcoming the challenges of going digital.”The report highlights policy recommendations that policymakers can consider in their effort to accelerate benefits for small businesses in going digital, particularly those in the food and beverages sector as well as retail and wholesale sector. The recommendations include:. Moreover, as the COVID-19 situation evolves, the report suggests APEC policymakers consider expanding their support to other sectors such as the tourism and hospitality sectors.
Business leaders from the Asia-Pacific region called for APEC leadership and cooperation to combat the grave challenges to health and economies posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.“Saving lives is obviously what matters most right now,” said the Chair of the APEC Business Advisory Council , Dato Rohana Tan Sri Mahmood. “That demands collaboration across the region on the knowledge and the tools we need to combat the health impacts and mitigate the most severe economic consequences in the short term,” she added. “We also need to lay the groundwork for rapid economic recovery as the worst of the storm begins to subside,” she said.Dato Rohana said that ABAC has written to APEC Trade and Foreign Ministers to urge them to lead the way in removing barriers to trade in the essential tools needed to fight the pandemic, including medical equipment, medicines and basic protective items such as soap, disinfectant and personal protective equipment. She added that “Complementing this effort, economies should facilitate trade in these critical supplies by simplifying and expediting border procedures, and should relax the rules to allow essential workers, including medical professionals to move across borders to serve the areas of greatest need.”“Underpinning all of this, APEC economies should of course share their experiences in acting to contain the pandemic, exchange data and research, and collaborate on public health measures,” added Dato Rohana.Dato Rohana cautioned that actions needed to go beyond addressing health. “This is rapidly becoming a financial and economic crisis too,” she noted. “The impacts on workers, businesses and supply chains are already severe. We are especially concerned about small businesses, the self-employed and those in the informal economy, who are ill-equipped to withstand these impacts,” said Dato Rohana. “We call on Ministers to share ideas and collaborate on approaches to address the rapid rise in unemployment, bankruptcies and other business challenges around liquidity, credit and tax payments.”Dato Rohana said that, looking to the longer term, any eventual recovery would take longer if the engines of trade and investment could not be re-started quickly. “We urge APEC economies to announce a standstill on all new trade-restrictive measures for the rest of this year and to agree concrete actions to reduce protectionism going forward,” said Dato Rohana. “Our most vulnerable communities need to be able to access food and other essential household products. Our businesses need to have the confidence to re-invest and rebuild our economies. Protectionism of any sort impedes the road to recovery,” the Chair added.Underpinning all these efforts, ABAC called on APEC economies to make the fullest possible use of digital technologies and connectivity, to collaborate effectively across economies and enable a level of economic activity to continue. “Access to resilient digital infrastructure such as broadband, i
Finance Ministers from APEC member economies issued a joint statement reflecting the outcomes of the APEC Finance Ministers’ Meeting in Santiago, Chile, chaired by Chile’s Minister of Finance Felipe Larrain.Their joint statement discusses the economic and financial outlook that APEC economies face and shares finance ministers’ views on appropriate policy actions.The digital economy for financial integration and inclusion;View the APEC Finance Ministers’ Ministerial Statement. The next APEC Finance Ministers’ Meeting will be held in Malaysia in October 2019. Please visit this page for more information on the APEC Finance Ministers’ Process.Dini Sari Djalal +65 9137 3886 at [email protected]. Michael Chapnick +65 9647 4847 at [email protected]. More on APEC meetings, events, projects and publications can be found on www.apec.org. You can also follow APEC on Twitter and join us on Facebook, LinkedIn.
Policies impacting women’s economic advancement have improved in some areas, but more reforms are needed to enable women to fully thrive, reports the newly updated APEC Women and the Economy Dashboard 2019.Launched at the annual APEC Women and the Economy Forum, the dashboard, prepared by the APEC Policy Support Unit, identifies gaps in opportunities that women face in the APEC region. In turn, the dashboard helps the forum’s 21 economies to respond with corrective policies.“The dashboard was developed by APEC members who rightly believe that economies have to identify the problem in order to address it properly,” said Dr. Rebecca Sta Maria, Executive Director of the APEC Secretariat at the forum. “Now that we can see the gaps, economies can prepare the policy actions needed to help women thrive.”Updated every two years, the dashboard consists of 95 indicators that track developments in five key areas: access to capital and assets; access to markets; skills, capacity-building and health; leadership, voice and agency; and innovation and technology.The findings show that legislation can both improve and impede a woman’s economic position. For example, most APEC economies protect women’s rights to property and inheritance, enabling them to use the assets as collateral when applying for loans to start or maintain a business.However, the dashboard shows that only 9 economies have laws that prohibit creditors from discriminating based on gender, and only 7 economies prohibit discrimination based on marital status.The report also reveals that labor regulations are inconsistent on gender parity. All 21 APEC economies allow women to work the same night hours as men, and 18 economies have laws that caution against hiring based on gender. Yet some economies still restrict women from working in select sectors, such as mining and construction, and in jobs with physical requirements.“In education, women are almost at par with men in literacy and enrollment at primary, secondary, and tertiary educational institutions,” said Carlos Kuriyama, a co-author of the report.“However, in 2016, some 23.4 percent of women 15-49 years old in APEC suffer from anemia, compared to 18.7 percent in 2008.” Anemia can impact one’s performance at school and at work.Career advancement in general has proven to be a challenge for women who have children. Only 11 economies guarantee a woman’s return to an equivalent position after maternity leave, while only 10 economies mandate parental leave and grant tax deductions for childcare costs.“These inadequate laws effectively penalize women who work, by making it difficult for them to balance family and work responsibilities, and advance in their careers,” said Rhea Crisologo Hernando, a co-author of the dashboard, which is an initiative of the APEC Policy Partnership for Women and the Economy.And while much of job creation will be in fields related to the technology industry, not many women are pursuing car
The APEC Secretariat and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, or OECD, will strengthen its collaborative efforts to support sustainable inclusive growth in the Asia Pacific region, said APEC Executive Director Dr Rebecca Sta Maria during her meeting with OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria.“The OECD is an integral partner for APEC’s efforts to strengthen our economies for the 21st century, and we look forward to working closer together in the future, particularly on the digital economy, a top priority for APEC Chile 2019,” said Dr. Sta Maria.“The digital economy transcends borders and poses unfamiliar challenges,” she added. “Strong multilateral collaboration will be key to helping our economies navigate and succeed in this uncharted territory.”Dr. Sta Maria addressed the challenges and opportunities of the digital economy during her participation in the OECD Going Digital Summit, a high-level conference, which includes discussion of two seminal research reports. The summit brings together high-level policymakers responsible for the digital economy.The OECD has a long-standing relationship with APEC that is based on policy research, knowledge sharing, and capacity building. The OECD and the APEC Policy Support Unit have an existing memorandum of understanding for closer cooperation.“The Asia-Pacific region is vital to global economic growth. The OECD is committed to working with APEC and APEC economies in their goal to foster sustainable economic growth and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region. Stronger multilateral collaboration on policy formulation – particularly related to improving connectivity, access, and security – can go a long way in helping ensure that digital transformation will be beneficial to all,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria.The OECD’s contributions to APEC include providing substantive work on measuring the digital economy and international regulatory cooperation. Also in the works are a joint analysis with APEC on effective approaches to infrastructure financing and regular updates on international tax cooperation and transparency. The OECD is also willing to support APEC’s priorities on blockchain and digitalization in finance.During her two-day visit to the OECD’s headquarters in Paris, Dr. Sta Maria also participated in a high-level panel discussion on investment treaties, focusing on recent and ongoing treaty practice in the APEC region, particularly related to state-owned enterprises. She also delivered an informal briefing to OECD members and Ambassadors on APEC’s priorities for 2019.Chile is the first OECD economy to host the APEC meetings since 2011.Dini Sari Djalal +65 9137 3886 at [email protected]. Michael Chapnick +65 9647 4847 at [email protected]. More on APEC meetings, events, projects and publications can be found on www.apec.org. You can also follow APEC on Twitter and join us o
Against the backdrop of rising trade and debt risk, finance ministers from APEC member economies convened this week in Port Moresby to determine policy measures for ensuring growth in the changing Asia-Pacific landscape.Finance ministers, concerned by increasing uncertainty that threatens to undermine the strong outlook for APEC economies, are setting their sights on coordinated efforts to enable digitally-driven and inclusive growth drivers, and improve resilience across the region.Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill addressed APEC Finance Ministers, underscoring the importance of accelerating breakthroughs through consensus heading into the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting here in November.“Papua New Guinea is the biggest economy among the Pacific islands. What happens here has a huge impact on our neighbors in this part of the world,” explained Prime Minister O’Neill. “The policy support we get from APEC helps build our economy and the confidence of the investment community in us.”Finance ministers considered the latest forecasts for APEC economies, which together account for half of global trade and 60 per cent of world GDP.“Protectionist trends stemming from trade tensions and the buildup of debt are troubling and a real threat to development and prosperity right around the APEC region,” said Papua New Guinea Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer, Hon. Charles Abel, who chaired the APEC Finance Ministers’ Meeting.“It is incumbent upon us, APEC Finance Ministers, to remain vigilant and move forward with actions that both propel and harness inclusive opportunities made possible by digital advances,” Deputy Prime Minister Abel added. “How we respond to new technologies will determine our capacity to improve poverty alleviation and build out a new middle class.”Finance ministers are weighing innovative measures for boosting infrastructure development and financing, banking and financing access, and international tax cooperation and transparency that levels the playing field for businesses and communities in all corners of APEC economies.They are also assessing ways to enhance disaster risk financing and insurance, and the underpinnings of a more financially integrated, transparent, resilient and digitally-connected regional economy.The goal is to foster sustained growth that delivers benefits to more people and businesses in APEC economies. Particular attention is on empowering the region’s 100 million small businesses, of which only about 5 per cent directly participate in trade and another 5 per cent trade indirectly.“More and more, integration and trade growth among APEC economies hinge on investment, data flows and institutional issues around it, not just financial flows that go with merchandise trade flows,” said Dr Alan Bollard, Executive Director of the APEC Secretariat. “Work in APEC on digital arrangements for public finance exemplify our new growth imperatives.”
Finance Ministers from the APEC member economies issued a joint statement reflecting the outcomes of the APEC Finance Ministers’ Meeting in Port Moresby chaired by Papua New Guinea Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer Charles Abel.Their joint statement discusses the economic and financial outlook that APEC economies face and shares finance ministers’ views on appropriate policy actions.Implementing the Cebu Action Plan for building a financially integrated, transparent, resilient and connected APEC community; and. The next APEC Finance Ministers’ Meeting will be held in Santiago, Chile in October 2019.For further details, or to arrange possible media interviews, please contact:. David Hendrickson by mobile/WhatsApp at +65 9137 3886 or [email protected]. Michael Chapnick by mobile/WhatsApp at +65 9647 4847 or [email protected]. More on APEC meetings, events, projects and publications can be found on www.apec.org. You can also follow APEC on Twitter and join us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.