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APEC Ministers, Officials Pursue Greater Economic Inclusion In Arequipa

Published: Sun 5 May 2024 04:24 AM
As member economies set their sights on boosting inclusion in the Asia-Pacific region, APEC ministers and officials will arrive in Arequipa, the second largest city in Peru, to drive forward policies that support the formalization of the informal economy and the inclusion of more women, youth and persons with disabilities into trade and other economic sectors.
“For the very first time in the history of APEC, we will have a joint meeting of Ministers Responsible for Trade and Women that will spotlight the value of including and empowering more women in trade in the region,” said Ambassador Carlos Vasquez, the 2024 Chair of APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting.
The APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting, chaired by Elizabeth Galdo Marín, Peru’s newly appointed Minister of Foreign Trade and Tourism, will be held on 17-18 May. Preceding this meeting, the High-Level Policy Dialogue on Women and the Economy to be chaired by Peru’s Minister of Women and Vulnerable Populations, Angela Teresa Hernández, will be held on 16 May. The first-ever joint meeting of Ministers Responsible for Trade and Ministers of Women will be held on 17 May, co-chaired by Minister Marín and Minister Hernández.
The ministerial meetings will strengthen inclusion of women and vulnerable populations in APEC.
Informality is another focus priority that Peru, the host of APEC 2024, has put forward as it aims to lead deliberations on measures to support the formalization of economic actors.
“Building on what has been achieved by APEC hosts in the past, as well as the APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040, we will propose a roadmap which includes best practices and public policy recommendations to empower the most vulnerable segments of our population to successfully transition from informality to the formal economy,” Ambassador Vasquez added.
Ambassador Vasquez explained that emphasis is being placed on innovation and digitalization as some of the most important tools to facilitate this transition, noting that they are also including financial inclusion, access to public health services, education and the judicial system.
"Digitalization is another focus area to help boost formalization. Many experts have stated that digital tools are instrumental in reducing informality levels not only in Peru but in other economies as they reduce transaction costs and registration fees," he said.
“When we journeyed to meet the APEC’s Bogor Goals of free and open trade, our focus was on trade and investment liberalization,” said Dr Rebecca Sta Maria, Executive Director of the APEC Secretariat.
“Today, guided by the APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040 and the Aotearoa Plan of Action, we not only retain our focus on trade and investment but also incorporate a strong push for digitalization and innovation, and sustainable and inclusive growth, all of which are necessary to build a stronger, more resilient future.” Dr Sta Maria added.
Arequipa will also host meetings and activities related to human resources development including a dialogue on inclusion and empowerment of people with disabilities using digital strategies, as well as workshops on new and emerging digital technologies to promote a secure and trusted information, communication and technology environment.
APEC Digital Week, held in the margins of the Second APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting and Related Meetings in Arequipa, will feature experts from other international organizations, private sectors, small businesses, academia, as well as government officials to exchange views on best practices and policies related to trade digitalization, closing the digital divide and digital sustainability.

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