The meeting cluster will culminate in a two-day plenary session of senior officials on September 2-3 chaired by Vangelis Vitalis, Deputy Secretary of Trade and Economic Affairs of New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
"Officials and experts have been working on a number of trade and investment, economic, and technical cooperation and structural reform initiatives guided by New Zealand’s priorities for this year," Executive Director of the APEC Secretariat, Rebecca Sta Maria, noted in a written statement issued by the APEC Secretariat and received here on Wednesday.
"All initiatives covered by these working groups support the forum’s overarching goal this year to advance the region’s recovery while at the same time increase inclusion and sustainability and promote innovation and a digitally enabled recovery," Sta Maria emphasized.
"With the APEC Economic Leaders’ Week inching closer, officials will use this opportunity to complete (addressing) outstanding issues and finalize their deliverables for senior officials, who will report APEC’s progress and recommendations to ministers in November," she remarked.
The APEC Digital Economy Steering Group kick-starts the meeting cluster by pursuing its implementation of the APEC Internet and Digital Economy Roadmap.
The roadmap lays out 11 key areas and actions to facilitate technological and policy exchanges among member economies; promote innovative, inclusive, and sustainable growth; as well as bridge the digital divide in the APEC region.
Under the Business Mobility Group, officials are continuing their pursuit of the safe resumption of travel and aim to strengthen the integrity of the APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC) scheme. This includes efforts to prevent exploitation and fraudulent activity.
Earlier this year, the group continued its work focused on modernizing and improving the security and efficiency of business travel and launched the virtual ABTC. As of now, eight economies have transitioned to the virtual platform.
The APEC Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy will seek to advance the APEC 2021 inclusive agenda by addressing the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on women in the region.
APEC’s Policy Partnership on Food Security will also meet to address key food security challenges facing the region, including production and supply chain disruptions caused by COVID-19 as well as tackle existing challenges, such as population growth, urbanization, climate change, and depletion of natural resources as well as focus on new technological developments that are expected to transform the sector.
The APEC Food Security Ministerial Meeting is scheduled to be held virtually on August 19. It will be chaired by New Zealand’s Minister of Agriculture, Damien O’Connor, who also chaired the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting earlier in May.
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