The Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation Andrey Belousov chaired the meeting of the ministers responsible for trade of the “Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation” (APEC)
On June 4-5, 2012, in Kazan, the Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation Andrey Belousov chaired the meeting of the ministers responsible for trade of the “Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation” (APEC).
The main purpose of the ministerial conference was sharing views as regards the topical issues: the world trade prospects, priorities for the Chairmanship, development of the regional economic integration, investment cooperation, transport and logistics chains improvement, food security, and cooperation to fuel innovation-based growth. The outcomes of the ministerial meeting will provide the substantive content for the final documents which will be prepared for the meeting of the APEC leaders in September 2012 in Vladivostok.
During the meeting, the ministers of the APEC forum member economies reaffirmed their commitment to the open market and free trade and their intention to fight protectionism, underlining the important role of the WTO in this process.
One of the most debated issues was the formation of the environmental goods list, the tariffs for which will have been reduced by 2015 and will be lower than 5%. In their speeches the ministers of a number of economies referred to the difficulties they faced while compiling the list. The Chairman of the meeting pointed out common willingness to take into account the national specificities, which significantly influence the proposals for the list content on the part of the APEC economies.
The Ministers agreed to develop the mutual investment (including investing in Russian agriculture) the mechanisms for solving the problems and removing the barriers to the foreign investment. A.R. Belousov drew the attention of the meeting to the fact that Russia carries out their foreign economic activity not just as a sovereign economy, but as the Customs Union of Russia, Kazakhstan, and Belarus. “We have laid the foundation for the cooperation in this format, fostering combined integration of Russia in the post-Soviet, European and Asian directions,” the Minister said.
The meeting participants discussed the development of the transport corridors and supply chains with a view to reduce the business costs, harmonize the customs procedures, apply the modern technologies for management and monitoring of the routing schemes in order to increase the speed of the freight and cargo traffic. The parties agreed that the key areas are prevention and elimination of the consequences of emergencies, development of information sharing and coordination of actions while providing the mutual assistance, as well as monitoring of the value added formation, removal of the obstacles to the supply chains and value chains.
In order to strengthen the innovative interaction Russia suggested that the APEC Forum should work out a communication format which would enable the segment-wise discussion of challenges in the fields of science, technology, and business development involving science and business practitioners. In this context, the participants discussed the results of the first technological innovation dialogue on application of nanotechnology in energy efficiency improvement organized by Russia and involving businesses, officials, and scientists (the recommendations formulated during the dialogue will be presented in September in Vladivostok).
Another important topic discussed was the cooperation in the field of education. “The APEC should create the common educational space. While a strong economy will be able to develop the export of its educational services and attract experts, a weak economy will be enabled to bring up its development level,” A.R. Belousov said. “We really believe that it is the encouragement of the universities to establish networking contacts, students mobility, interuniversity collaboration, communication between businesses and science, not only within the countries, but across the whole region, that will form the basis for our future trade and investment and directly supports the regional economic integration, and trade and investment liberalization.”