World Economy

APEC Needs Development Agenda

APEC Needs Development AgendaAPEC Needs Development Agenda

Philippines is hosting this year’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. Since Thursday, the APEC summit has been underway in Manila, bringing together 21 Pacific Rim member economies. The meeting is scheduled to culminate with the APEC economic leaders’ meeting on November 18-19.

All sides of the economic development within the APEC bloc should be considered, in muting environmental impact and human agenda, Philippines’ foreign affairs undersecretary, chairperson of APEC senior officials’ meeting (SOM), Laura Del Rosario said Friday, Sputnik reported.

“But somewhere along the way, we all recognize that we do need to have a development agenda so the women issue came in, human resources, and then of course now we are talking about the environmental impact of what we do. We are talking about health, water, food, nutrition, challenges of urbanization,” Del Rosario said.

She stressed that at the initiation of ten APEC SOM meetings, the idea was to facilitate trade and investment “because these two factors underpin our economic development.”

Even though tensions in the South China Sea may not be on the agenda of the upcoming APEC summit, the US-China rivalry will still will be front and center when the leaders gather next week in Manila, VoA reported.

APEC members include major regional economies the US, China, Russia, Japan and South Korea, and together the group accounts for nearly half of all global trade and over 50% of world gross domestic product.

Both US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping will be attending the summit.

The growing military tensions between Washington and Beijing over freedom of navigation and territorial disputes in the South China Sea would seem an appropriate issue to be addressed at the regional economic summit.

Beijing’s claim to almost the entire South China Sea has produced jurisdictional disputes with Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei. These countries have attempted to resolve their grievances with China at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, but Beijing has refused to recognize or participate in this case.

This week Indonesia indicated it too may take China to the international court over its own case of conflicting claims to the Natuna islands.

APEC, established in 1989, promotes free trade throughout the Asia-Pacific region. The APEC forum also includes Canada, the Philippines, Mexico, Peru, chili, Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Brunei.