APEC senior officials discuss economic inclusivity, future direction

Senior officials from the 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies concluded a three-day meeting here on Wednesday after holding discussions on priority areas of trade and investment, inclusive economic participation and sustainability.

Over 300 delegates from APEC economies, federal ministries and agencies gathered in Malaysia's northern resort island of Langkawi, for the APEC Informal Senior Officials Meeting (ISOM) under the theme Optimizing Human Potential towards a Future of Shared Prosperity, which was chosen by the host Malaysia for APEC 2020.

Hairil Yahri Yaacob, an official from Malaysia's International Trade in Industry Ministry who chaired the meeting, said the ISOM served as an opportunity for Malaysia to brief APEC economies the theme, priority areas and the desired deliverables set by Malaysia for APEC 2020.

Malaysia had also commenced the development process of APEC post-2020 Vision through a dedicated session involving all senior officials, with special sessions planned for realizing the group's future course, after the expiration of the Bogor Goals next year, which had been the flagship initiative of APEC since 1994, the APEC 2020 National Secretariat said in a statement following the discussions.

Speaking to the press, executive director of the APEC Secretariat Rebecca Fatima Sta Maria said the grouping needed to work towards being relevant not only at the top decision-making level, but to the average people in all participating economies.

"You see how this group of 21 economies, because they work together to focus on regional economic integration, how they have increased, expanded the economic pie, as it were," she said.

"Increased job opportunities, taken a whole lot of people out of poverty, and increasingly the focus on inclusive growth and that's what Malaysia will be focusing on so that we make whatever we do, relevant for the people, for the average person," she said.

Source: China ASEAN Business Council