For New Zealanders APEC is normally something that happens in exotic locales like Vladivostok (2012), Bali (2013), Beijing (2014) or this year in Manila. New Zealand last hosted in 1999 and we will do so again in 2021.
APEC is the way the 21 governments of the Asia Pacific region seek to influence the growing inter-dependence of their economies through trade and investment, economic co-operation and capacity building. Unlike the WTO, APEC is a voluntary and non-binding instrument – it works on the basis of good ideas rather than rules.
This year’s APEC Chair, the Philippines, is promoting the concept of inclusive growth in which all members of society benefit. The initiative is being promoted through a range of different meetings of Ministers, officials, business people and stakeholders throughout the year culminating in the annual Summit in November. Last week Sanchia Jacobs from Auckland Council joined an APEC Mayoral Forum in Cebu looking at building liveable and competitive cities. This week Catherine Beard from Export NZ will be discussing how the region’s services industries can co-operate to improve the regulatory environment both for services providers and consumers. Later in the month Small Business Minister Craig Foss will participate in a Ministerial meeting on how to foster the health and vitality of SMEs.
It’s often said New Zealand’s future lies in the region we call our home. Even our traditional relationship with Europe is being seen through this lens as we discuss how to link European investment with New Zealand enterprise to take advantage of business opportunities in Asia. The APEC goal is for deeper and smoother economic integration as our businesses, cities and peoples become ever more closely connected.
This post was written by Stephen Jacobi, Executive Director of the NZ International Business Forum and an Alternate Member of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC).