Chances are that you’ve heard or read about the Philippines being the host of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2015.
You probably already know that the meetings have been ongoing in the country since January and host venues included such places as Clark, Tagaytay, Laoag, Manila, Bacolod, Boracay, and Iloilo.
Cebuanos are especially aware that Cebu will be hosting some APEC 2015 meetings from August to October this year. But what is APEC and why host it? What’s in it for the Philippines in general and Cebu in particular?
Here are 10 important points about this premier gathering in the Asia-Pacific region and the APEC 2015 Philippine hosting.
1. APEC History
Former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke first publicly broached the idea of establishing APEC during a speech in Seoul, South Korea on January 31, 1989, and 12 Asia-Pacific economies met and did just that 10 months later in Canberra, Australia.
2. APEC Objective
The main objective of APEC as an economic forum is to bring about sustainable economic growth and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.
In line with this mission, it advocates free and open trade among member economies unhindered by tariffs or duties and other barriers. APEC also champions the integration of economic policies, promotion of economic and technical cooperation, enhancement of human security, and facilitation of a favorable and business environment in Asia-Pacific.
3. APEC Membership
APEC is composed of 21 member economies. Its founding members were: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, United States. It has since expanded to include the following economies: Chile, China, Hong Kong, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Russia, Taiwan, and Vietnam.
4. APEC Milestones
In the 2014 summit in Beijing, APEC leaders took a concrete step towards an integrated regional economy by agreeing on a road map to bring about the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP). APEC will study the possible issues and challenges surrounding FTAAP, and implement a blueprint to achieve 2025 targets for better physical, institutional, and people-to-people linkages across the region.
Read about other APEC milestones here. (http://www.apec.org/About-Us/About-APEC/History.aspx)
5. APEC Economy
According to October 2013 figures, APEC’s 2.7 billion population accounted for 40 percent of the global population. Its total trade receipts of $16.8 trillion in 2010 represented 45 percent of global trade. The Philippines’ total external trade for 2013 with APEC – member economies amounted to $96.104 billion or 80.7% of the country’s entire trade. (http://www.apec2015.ph)
6. APEC 2015 Philippines
The Philippines is hosting APEC 2015, a series of over a hundred meetings that culminates in the Leaders’ Summit in Manila this November 18-19. The hosting is in fulfillment of the country’s commitment as a member economy and at the same time raises its stature in the international community.
Hosting APEC 2015 allows the Philippines to showcase its vibrant and dynamic economy and top tourism destinations, widen opportunities for attracting foreign investments, and strengthen trade ties especially with other member economies.
7. APEC 2015 Priority Issues
APEC 2015 aims to highlight inclusive growth as a means towards building a better world. In line with this goal, the Philippines identified three main objectives for APEC 2015 and these include food security, employment generation, and sustainable and resilient economies. One of the means by which these can be achieved is to strengthen and mainstream micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
8. APEC Cebu Meetings
Cebu will host around 60 conferences, including The Third Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM 3) and related sessions this August and September. SOM 1 was held in Clark in January while SOM 2 happened in Boracay last May.
SOM 3 in Cebu is a prelude to the APEC Leaders’ Meeting in Manila. It will tackle issues related to trade and investment, services, counter-terrorism, mining, illegal logging, intellectual property, corruption, electronic commerce, health and life sciences, and market access, among others.
9. APEC Cebu Delegates
Over 3,000 delegates are expected in Cebu for the Third Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM 3) and related sessions from August 22 to September 6. Other meetings on finance, structural reforms, transportation, and energy spread out fromSeptember 7 to October 14 will have from 90 to 700 participants. The number does not include the delegates’ staff or spouses and children who will accompany them to Cebu for the meetings.
10. APEC Cebu Preparations
The APEC meetings in Cebu will be held in five venues: Marco Polo Plaza Cebu, Cebu City Marriott Hotel, Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino, Radisson Blu Cebu, and Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa. Security will be tight for the whole duration of the event and transport rerouting will be implemented in Cebu City where most of the meetings will take place. A number coding for vehicles might be implemented and school and work holidays implemented towards the holding of the Third Officials’ Meeting in September.
Written by: Marlene Limpag
Graphics by: Francis Nacua