The second APEC Senior Officials Meetings (SOM II) began the third working day in Ho Chi Minh City on May 24 with 10 meetings.
The two-day APEC Study Centers Consortium (ASCC) meeting wrapped up on March 24. The delegates heard a report on the impacts of the APEC economies’ openness and the internal strengths of its growth and the global integration.
|Delegates talk during the break time on May 24 (Photo:SGGP)|
With a survey on the relations between the internal strengths and the integration level of 62 economies all over the world from 1998 to 2002, the delegates made a conclusion that the internal strengths must be improved if it is to increase the integration level.
The delegates also concluded that trade measures – which APEC have so far used as a main tool – are no longer effective, and the top priority has turned out to be a country’s growth-related policies. Therefore, a new mission among the APEC members is to create sustainable growth, thus cooperation among the APEC members will go beyond foreign and trade policies.
The ASCC meeting forecast a big challenge for APEC in the coming time, which is the establishment of the East Asia Summit.
Fighting corruption was also discussed. An anti-corruption strategy at the ASCC required further administrative reforms; improvement of budget allocation; personnel improvement so that competent people can take advantage of their ability; punishments against corruption; improvement of the legal system; strengthening relations with the private sector in fighting corruption; and some other measures.
APEC business travel card
The Informal Experts Group on Business Mobility (IEGBM) entered their third day of discussions. Mr. Vincent McMahol, the Australian Government’s senior expert for border security, chaired this meeting.
He said APEC business travel cards have been issued to 12,500 people, and this figure is too small compared with demand. Seventeen APEC member economies have issued this card, and he said he believes the number of the card will increase fast in the future.
IEGBM worked out three measures to fight cross-border crimes. Then, it discussed a project to establish an APEC database of lost papers to help the combat against illegal use of these papers. IEGBM also agreed to rename it as the Mobility Group.
Human Resource Development
The Human Resource Development Working Group (HRDWG) discussed in six meetings on May 24. Mr. Christopher J. Watson, an expert of the US Department of Labor, said developing APEC economies are paying close attention to human resource development, how to utilize workers’ capability and to create opportunities for young workers.
HRDWG also discussed the attitude of employers toward HIV-infected workers. In addition, it discussed an issue that is hot in Viet Nam: how to prevent disputes between employers and the employees, and measures to improve ties between the two sides. Other issues included how to create suitable jobs for the youth and women, and help them get access to and use high-tech devices.
Given the importance of human resource development, a meeting for APEC labor ministers is scheduled this October in Bangkok, before the APEC Summit 2006 in Ha Noi in November.
Also on May 24, the APEC Committee on Trade and Investment (CTI) had a preparatory meeting to decide on issues to submit to the second APEC Senior Officials Meetings.
Trade and Investment Facilitation Discussed