1. The 1st Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) in 2022 was held in a virtual format from February 24 to 25. COVID-19 response, economic recovery measures, safe ways for cross-border movement within the Asia-Pacific region, and this year’s important APEC cooperation issues were discussed at the meeting.
2. At this meeting, member economies agreed on the need to develop an open environment for trade and investment to foster economic recovery in the region from the COVID-19 pandemic and agreed to work together to expand regional free trade, strengthen competitiveness in the service sectors, and resume regional cross-border movement (“safe passage”).
o APEC Senior Officials also emphasized the importance of facilitating trade to ensure stability in regional supply chains and reaffirmed the willingness to move forward the greater economic integration initiatives including the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP).
o Member economies agreed to develop ways to assure safe and sustainable travel within the region and strengthen information sharing about each member economy’s preventive measures and entry restrictions against the pandemic. Senior Officials also decided to discuss ways to inter-operate vaccine certificates.
o APEC members decided to continuously work hard to accomplish the goals of the Putrajaya Vision 2040 and the Aotearoa Action Plan and agreed to continue discussions to develop a more comprehensive and effective plan to evaluate their implementation.
3. Acting Director-General of the International Economic Affairs Bureau Ahn Seryeong presented Korea’s activities in APEC this year and mentioned Korea would continue to contribute to APEC projects for economic growth of the region and regional integration.
o She requested member economies to support the Capacity Building Needs Initiative (CBNI), which Korea has led since 2012 as part of the efforts to realize the FTAAP.
o Acting Director-General also emphasized on Korea’s efforts to enhance competitiveness of the service sectors in the Asia-Pacific region and encouraged member economies to implement the matters agreed in APEC such as the Service Competitiveness Roadmap.
o In addition, she pointed out the importance of enhancing connectivity among the people in the region and mentioned that Korea would share information including its practices of safe cross-border travel(“safe passage”) and actively participate in related discussions.
4. The first SOM this year served as an opportunity to reaffirm the willingness among APEC members to enhance cooperation in promoting the economic recovery and development of the Asia-Pacific region. It also provided a renewed momentum for cooperation, and member economies exchanged constructive opinions on the future direction of APEC such as how to make progress in the regional economic integration.
o The Korean government will continue to cooperate at upcoming SOMs and ministerial meetings, aiming to yield practical outcomes at this year’s APEC summit in November.