APEC senior officials to build on priorities set in China

PAMPANGA, Philippines – Senior officials of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) will build on the key priorities identified by 2014 host China in setting the policy direction of APEC 2015.

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Laura del Rosario, APEC 2015 Senior Officials Meeting' (SOM) chair, made the statement in her welcome remarks at the opening of the formal Senior Officials' Meeting (SOM1) Clark Freeport, Pampanga, on Friday, February 6.

Del Rosario said that during the two-day SOM1 at the Fontana International Convention Center, the senior officials "will lay down the groundwork for policy direction of APEC 2015, which actually are built upon last year’s priorities of China."

These priorities revolve around advancing regional economic integration, promoting innovative development, economic reform and growth, strengthening comprehensive connectivity, and infrastructure development, she said.

“Those priorities of China are reflected in our priorities and in our desired outcome for this year,” Del Rosario said.

The Philippines succeeded China as APEC chair this year. The APEC 2015 theme is "Building inclusive economies, building the world," an offshoot of what China identified as 3 key priorities for the senior leaders to continue.

For APEC 2015, the Philippines identified 4 priorities: small and medium enterprises; regional integration; human capacity development; and resilient economies. (WATCH: Q and A: What to expect from APEC 2015 in PH?)

Del Rosario also made special mention of the venue of the SOM1 – Clark Freeport – a former US military base that had evolved into a bustling economic zone after the devastating impact of the 1991 Mount Pinatubo eruption.

"Set against the backdrop of the Pinatubo Volcano – which famously erupted in 1991, and changed the color of your sunsets for a year – Clark remains to be a model of investment and business resilience," she said.

Del Rosario added,  "Clark is proud to have had transformed itself from a military base to an industry hub that is supported by foreign investor confidence."

The Philippines is chairing APEC for the second time, after 1996, when the country was girding for economic take-off – a plan that was thwarted by the Asian financial crisis. – Rappler.com