APEC Trade Ministers to advance trade facilitation and development issues in Surabaya

Regional growth in the Asia-Pacific region is placing new demands on infrastructure and connectivity, behind-the-border barriers, sustainability and equity - all priorities for APEC Indonesia 2013. APEC Trade Ministers will address these issues when they meet in Surabaya on 20-21 April 2013, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the premier forum for facilitating economic growth, cooperation, trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region, said today.

In preparation for the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting, over the next two weeks in Surabaya, Indonesia, APEC officials will prepare initiatives to ensure a seamlessly connected, resilient and equitable Asia-Pacific, APEC said in a press release.

Briefing the APEC Business Advisory Council meeting in Singapore ahead of next week's meeting, John Larkin, Chair of the APEC Committee on Trade and Investment, said that APEC will continue to move forward some significant work streams mandated by ministers.

"We will be intensifying work to address chokepoints to regional connectivity through targeted capacity building and concrete steps to make supply chains more reliable, transparent and efficient," said Larkin. "Building capacity will facilitate progress towards attaining our goal of 10 percent improvement of supply chain performance by 2015." Representing 44 percent of world trade, APEC plays an important role in advancing the World Trade Organization's Doha Development Agenda to ensure a better multilateral trading system. Ministers plan to discuss the necessary steps to support the upcoming 9th WTO Ministerial Conference when they meet in Bali this December.

"APEC Ministers have been directed by Leaders to advance the objectives of trade facilitation and other development-related issues and to comprehensively and realistically review the progress achieved in the WTO," confirmed Dr. Alan Bollard, the APEC Secretariat's Executive Director.

"APEC's regional experience should inspire multilateral negotiations with its commitment to reducing tariffs to 5 percent or less on a significant number of environmental goods by the end of 2015," he added. "We hope that the successes that APEC has achieved in recent years can restore confidence in the WTO and lead to a successful conclusion." APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade will review ongoing work in Surabaya on April 20-21 and set the trade agenda in preparation for the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in October.