Officials Begin Technical Meeting Cluster, Propel APEC’s Recovery Progress
10 August 2021
The third and final APEC technical meeting cluster is now underway involving close to 2,400 officials, policymakers and private-sector representatives from 21 economies and more than 80 virtual working groups and fora meetings and activities.
The meeting cluster will culminate in a two-day plenary session of senior officials on 2-3 September, chaired by Vangelis Vitalis, Deputy Secretary of Trade and Economic Affairs of New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. This will be the last meeting this year before APEC Senior Officials prepare for Leaders’ Week this November.
“Officials and experts have been working on a number of trade and investment, economic and technical cooperation and structural reform initiatives guided by New Zealand’s priorities for this year,” said Dr Rebecca Sta Maria, Executive Director of the APEC Secretariat.
“All the initiatives covered by these working groups support the forum’s overarching goal this year to advance the region’s recovery while at the same time increase inclusion and sustainability and promote innovation and a digitally enabled recovery,” Dr Sta Maria added.
“With APEC Economic Leaders’ Week inching closer, officials will use this opportunity to complete outstanding issues and finalize their deliverables for senior officials who will report APEC’s progress and recommendations to ministers in November,” she said.
The APEC Digital Economy Steering Group kick-starts the meeting cluster by pursuing its implementation of the APEC Internet and Digital Economy Roadmap. The roadmap lays out 11 key areas and actions to facilitate technological and policy exchanges among member economies, promote innovative, inclusive and sustainable growth, as well as to bridge the digital divide in the APEC region.
Under the Business Mobility Group, officials are continuing their pursuit of the safe resumption of travel and aim to strengthen the integrity of the APEC Business Travel Card scheme. This includes efforts to prevent exploitation and fraudulent activity. Earlier this year, the group continued their work toward modernizing and improving the security and efficiency of business travel and launched the virtual ABTC. As of now, eight economies have transitioned to the virtual platform.
The APEC Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy will seek to advance the APEC 2021 inclusive agenda by addressing the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on women in the region. The group will hear from the APEC Policy Support Unit and discuss updates of the bi-annual APEC Women and the Economy Dashboard and is expected to provide analysis and recommendations to senior officials regarding the APEC La Serena Roadmap for Women and Inclusive Growth implementation plan.
APEC’s Policy Partnership on Food Security will also meet to address key food security challenges facing the region, including production and supply chain disruptions brought by COVID-19 as well as existing challenges such as population growth, urbanization, climate change, the depletion of natural resources and new technological developments that are expected to transform the sector.
The APEC Food Security Ministerial Meeting is scheduled to be held virtually on 19 August. It will be chaired by New Zealand’s Minister of Agriculture, Damien O’Connor, who also chaired the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting earlier in May.
The list of full meetings in August can be found here.
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