Cebu action plan: APEC members to adopt “inclusiveness roadmap”
Kristine B. Quintas/RHM (The Freeman) - August 25, 2015 - 10:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The finance ministers of the 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation economies are set to launch an “inclusiveness roadmap” in Cebu next month. 

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Laura del Rosario said the Cebu Action Plan, a roadmap to the Asia-Pacific region’s inclusiveness and resiliency, will be launched by finance ministers of the APEC economies when they meet in Cebu for the Finance Ministerial Meetings from September 9 to 11, 2015.

 According to the Cebu provincial government’s public information office, del Rosario said the roadmap will focus on creating inclusive APEC economies.

 “Cebu will be unique in 2015 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation because of the Cebu Action Plan. You (Cebu) will be remembered for this,” she said.

 The four pillars for the proposed Cebu Action Plan will be financial integration, fiscal transparency and policy reform, financial resiliency, and infrastructure development and financing.

Before the ministerial meetings, though, there would be other meetings by the APEC senior finance and Central Bank officials and deputies.

Del Rosario said  that in adopting the Cebu Action Plan, APEC would be making a case for globalization of trade, which in turn promotes efficient production of goods, gives consumers more choices, lowers prices by eliminating tariff, and provides access to new technology.

The world, she said, would benefit from trade globalization, which would make the movement of goods, people, and investments of capital easier.

“About 453 years ago this year, the Galleon trade started. So there was already global trade and it went on for 200 years,” she said.

 According to del Rosario, the Philippines, as host of APEC 2015, is focusing on inclusive growth since a survey showed that more attention needs to be given on it.

Inclusive growth, she further said, needs to be balanced, which means all economies should grow together.

Reacting to the crafting of the action plan, Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Ma. Teresa Chan said she was glad that it carries the name of Cebu as it “will center on a very humane goal of upholding the dignity of the every human being.”

“It is doubly meaningful because that plan will have inputs from many of our local stakeholders. On the lighter side, at least Cebu will already have a permanent place in APEC’s history,” she said.

Ministers from the 21 APEC economies will also meet on September 7 and 8 to review APEC’s structural reform efforts and to tackle issues that impede inclusive growth, to enhance regional economic integration.

They would also set the post-2015 agenda of the region during the APEC Structural Reform Ministerial Meeting (SRMM) to be headed by Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan.

“Guided by this year’s theme, our priority is to facilitate inclusiveness, not only in the regional sense but also within economies. The APEC region has been growing rapidly as a whole but this is in many cases shared unevenly across societies,” he said.

 At the SRMM, the ministers will discuss key issues, including challenges in implementing structural reform, the respective economies’ priorities, and areas of collaboration.

Discussions of the SRMM will revolve around five themes: structural reform for inclusive growth; structural reform and innovation; structural reform and services; tools for structural reform; and new directions for structural reform in APEC.

At the end of the meeting, the ministers will adopt a post-2015 APEC New Strategy for Structural Reform (ANSSR), which will further enhance the efforts and focus of structural reform initiatives from 2016 to 2020.

Speakers from the APEC Secretariat and the World Bank will also discuss regulatory reform and cooperation on services. This will be followed by a panel discussion among ministers and heads of delegations on the challenges in undertaking structural reform. — (FREEMAN)

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