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Seminar on “APEC in 2017 and Beyond: Striving for Open Economies and Delivering on Inclusive Growth”


Monday, 11 December 2017 – The recently concluded APEC summit was centred on the theme of “Creating New Dynamism, Fostering a Shared Future”. To gain some first hand insights into the actual negotiations that took place between the participants and the policy priorities for upcoming summits, ISEAS invited three distinguished speakers, Dr Alan Bollard (Executive Director, APEC Secretariat Singapore), Mr Ivan Pomaleu (Ambassador, APEC – Papua New Guinea), and Mr Eduardo Pedrosa (Secretary General, Pacific Economic Cooperation Council).

From Left to Right: Dr Alan Bollard, Dr Siwage Dharma Negara, Mr Ivan Pomaleu, and Mr Eduardo Pedrosa (Source: ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute)

Starting with a discussion on the 2017 summit in Da Nang, Dr Bollard mentioned that the APEC leaders pledged to work together on: 1) promoting innovative growth, inclusion and sustainable employment; 2) creating new drivers for regional economic integration, strengthening the capacity and innovation of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises; 3) enhancing food security and sustainable agriculture in response to climate change; and 4) fostering a shared future.

Ambassador Pomaleu then steered the conversation towards the policy priorities for the 2018 APEC summit to be held in Papua New Guinea. He not only spoke about the important agendas of improving connectivity, promoting sustainable growth, and expediting structural reforms in the region, but also laid out a detailed list of exact deliverables for next year’s meeting.

The final speaker, Mr Pedrosa shared the results of a recent regional policy community survey conducted by the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC). Respondents included representatives of the government, business professionals, researchers, and members of the civil society. Based on the analysis of responses, Mr Pedrosa focussed on the regional economic growth challenges, such as increased protectionism, slowdown of the Chinese economy, lack of political leadership, among others. He concluded the session by emphasising on the importance of APEC member countries working together towards the common goals of economic integration and freer trade.

The seminar was attended 64 people, including scholars, students, members of the media and the public (Source: ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute)

The seminar was two hours long, and was attended by an audience of 64 people, including scholars, students, members of the media and the public. The speakers answered their questions on a wide array of topics, including: the APEC Vision Group; relations between the US and China; President Trump’s used of the phrase “Indo-Pacific”; development plans for SMEs; and industrial policies related to the expansion of digital economy.