CEBU CITY: The 21 member states of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) agreed to form a regional coalition to promote an effective platform as a way of increasing dialogue and cooperation among the various sectors, and sharing experiences and best practices to induce growth at the domestic and regional levels.
At the sidelines of the APEC Structural Reform Ministerial Meeting (SRMM) here, the member economies signed a memorandum of understanding for the Asia Pacific Services Coalition to signify that they recognize the central role the services sector plays in the region in generating economic growth, employment, competitiveness and regional integration.
Services form the largest sector of economic activity in most economies and are a major source of employment.
“This was the big conclusion of the meeting. This is an important step to further services liberalization and facilitation in the region,” said Anthony Nightingale, member of Asia Pacific Business Advisory Council (ABAC) Hong Kong and SRMM head of the ABAC delegation.
Services account for 70 percent of global the gross domestic product and contribute nearly 50 percent of world exports from a value-added perspective.
The numbers underscore the need for a consistent, higher priority and attention with a view to getting the regulatory houses in order, Nightingale said.
“If we are serious about delivering inclusive growth in the region, discussions need to be anchored on rational economic arguments about how services can help promote the services sector in the region,” Nightingale noted.
The increasing numbers of fragmented services-related tasks outsourced by businesses underscore the role that services play under the new 21st-Century trade patterns, he said.
As such, the Coalition is to foster increased cooperation and dialogue among organizations and businesses on new and emerging domestic, APEC and international opportunities and developments.
Sharing information and experiences supported by evidence-based approaches to increase growth and efficiency in services, and sharing ideas on how to strengthen the role and membership of the individual organizations are also parts of its purpose.
The coalition can also provide a forum for dialogue with APEC ministers and officials and ABAC on the services agenda, as well as be a regional avenue to develop and advocate the members’ interests and recommendations. MAYVELIN U. CARABALLO