Trade, Commerce and Industry Minister Richard Maru will be joining trade ministers from other APEC member countries from the 17<sup>th</sup> to 18<sup>th</sup> of May, 2014 in Qingdao, China.
The purpose is to consider actions to advance APEC’s work towards the realisation of a Free Trade Area of Asia Pacific (FTAAP).
“I will be updating my colleague ministers on Papua New Guinea’s progress in some of these activities including the implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement that was agreed to in Bali last year,’’ said Minister Maru.
The 2014 APEC meet theme is: “<b>Shaping the Future through Asia-Pacific Partnership”</b> with three main priorities under this theme.
i) Advancing Regional Economic Integration (REI);
ii) Promoting Innovative Development, Economic Reform and Growth; and
iii) Strengthening Comprehensive Connectivity and Infrastructure Development.
The five pillars that ministers will be discussing are, Economic Reform, New Economy, Innovative Growth, Inclusive Support and Urbanisation.
The discussions in depth among APEC member countries include enhancing transparency among regional and free trade agreements, strengthening capacity building activities, formulating a roadmap and launching a feasibility study on realising an FTAAP, its costs and benefits.
Maru before departing said that the discussions are aimed at developing stronger and deeper regional economic integration among APEC members by addressing barriers to trade and investment through an FTAAP.
Ministers from these APEC member countries will also discuss ways to promote global value chains collaboration and a 10% improvement in supply chain performance by 2015 in terms of reduction of time, cost and uncertainty of moving goods through the region, taking into consideration individual economies’ circumstances.
Minister Maru said discussions will also be based on existing cooperation among APEC members for ministers to explore linkages among innovative development, economic reform and growth and promoting pragmatic cooperation and long-term development.
Ministers will be exchanging views on promoting comprehensive connectivity in the Asia-Pacific region by addressing the region’s need for physical (hard) connectivity; institutional (soft) connectivity and people-to people connectivity. In this regard, the ministers will consider and welcome the work on developing the APEC Blueprint on Connectivity and the progress achieved from the APEC Public Private Partnership (PPP) initiatives.
Minister Maru will also be having bilateral discussions with his counterparts from Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines, and China to discuss trade and other development cooperation issues.
He will be accompanied by the newly appointed Director General for the Trade Division, Ambassador Max Rai and will be joined by PNG APEC Senior Official Ivan Pomaleo, Ambassador Christopher Mero from the PNG Embassy in China and Director General of the PNG APEC Secretariat, Mr Lahui Ako and officers from APEC implementing agencies who are already in Qindao, attending their fora meetings.
Meanwhile, the APEC ministers responsible for trade meeting is in preparation for the APEC Ministerial Meeting to be held from 7-8 November in Beijing and the APEC Leaders’ Summit to be held from 8-11<sup>th</sup> November in China which our Prime Minister is expected to attend with representatives of the private sector.