APEC 2013: Back in Indonesia

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Nation has high hopes for tenure as host, and beyond

By Mary Silaban

After almost two decades, later this year Indonesia will once again host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.

The 21 member economies will meet in Bali from October 1-8, 2013, with the theme: Resilient Asia-Pacific: Engine of Global Growth.

Acting as an engine for balanced sustainable growth with equity is one of APEC's priorities in 2013, according to Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa

"We are convinced that resilience and sustainable economic growth can be more readily achieved when the whole region grows together, Marty said in a recent APEC statement.

Marty will serve as the co-chair for the APEC Ministerial Meeting in October, along with Minister of Trade Gita Wirjawan.

It is a world of plenty, yet in which millions go to bed hungry; a world of vast opportunities, yet in which millions are unemployed; a world of amazing connectivity, yet in which distant villages are isolated for lack of infrastructures; a world challenged by the threats of food security, climate change, and energy security, Marty said.

In essence: challenges that demand partnership and cooperation.

APEC was established in 1989 after the idea of an Asia-Pacific trade body to promote trade liberalization and cooperation was initially broached by former Australian Prime Minister Robert Hawke. Later that year, twelve Asia-Pacific countries met in Australia to establish APEC. The founding members were Australia, Brunei, Canada, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and the United States.

Between 1989 and 1992, APEC met as an informal senior level dialogue. In 1993, former United States President Bill Clinton established the APEC leaders' meeting, which became one of the most important forums for economic cooperation in the Pacific Rim. The membership of the group soon expanded to include China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. In November 1993, APEC accepted Papua New Guinea and Mexico, marking the first time that a Latin American nation joined an Asia Pacific trade body. Chile joined in 1994 and in November 1998, Peru, Russia, and Vietnam signed on.

APEC's mission is to promote free trade and economic cooperation throughout the Asia-Pacific region, and it was set up in response to both the growing interdependence of Asia-Pacific economies and the advent of regional trade blocs elsewhere in the world.

The emergence of APEC was strongly backed by Washington and its expanding membership also was a graphic sign of both increasing globalization and the impact of economic reforms on APEC's two communist members, China and Vietnam. Its creation was also a response to fears in Washington at the time that Japan, which was enjoying booming growth through the 1980s, would come to dominate economic activity in the region.

APEC is a key pillar of the United States' Asia-Pacific Policy, said Alex Berenberg, First Secretary and Coordinator for APEC with the US Embassy Jakarta.

According to APEC's own figures, members account for approximately 40 percent of the world's population, approximately 54 percent of the world's gross domestic product and about 44 percent of world trade.

Indonesia, hosting the event for the second time, has pledged to ensure it is not only successful, but continues to make progress long after its tenure as host ends.

We want to ensure that APEC members open up their economies to each other and this should come after APEC Bali, said Arto Suryodipuro, director for Asia Pacific and African Intra-Regional Cooperation, at an APEC Working Committee meeting in Jakarta last month.

The sustainability of APEC's work is also important, according to Suryodipuro, who said Indonesia wants to synergize the work of APEC with other cooperation forums such as the East Asia Summit and G20.

The schedule

A series of meetings will take place in the months leading up to the October forum, as outlined below.

The APEC Economic Leaders' Week takes place October 1-8 and will include the APEC CEO Summit, the Concluding Senior Officials' Meeting, the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting and the APEC Ministers' Meeting.

Date

Type of meeting

Location

January 24 February 8

Senior Officer Meeting (SOM) 1 and related Meetings

Jakarta

February 19-20

Finance & Central Bank Deputies Meeting

Jakarta

April 6-19

SOM 2 and related Meetings

Solo/Surabaya

April 20-21

Minister Responsible for Trade Meetings

Solo/Surabaya

May 22-23

Senior Finance Officials

Manado

June 22 July 6

SOM 3 and related Meetings

Medan

September 6-8

Small Medium Enterprises Ministerial Meetings

Nusa Dua, Bali

September 6-8

High Level Policy Dialogue on Women in Economy

Nusa Dua, Bali

September 17-19

Senior Finance Officials and Central Bank Deputies Meeting

Nusa Dua, Bali

October 1-8

APEC Economic Leaders˜ Week

-Concluding Senior Officials Meeting

-APEC Ministers Meeting

-APEC Economic Leaders meeting

-APEC CEO Summit

Nusa Dua, Bali

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