The Committee on Trade and Investment (CTI), one of the four key committees reporting to senior officials of the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC),on Wednesday tabled to the APEC ministerial meeting in Santiago its annual report that provides an overview of the committee's achievements in the past year, which it calls as an implementation year.
In 2004, the CTI worked very hard in implementing several far-reaching APEC initiatives agreed at past APEC leader's meetings and focused their work on five priority areas: support for the WTO,trade facilitation, transparency, Pathfinder Initiatives and structural reform, CTI chairman Alan Bowman told a new briefing here.
"Through the hard work of all 21 member economies, the CTI truly delivered on its five priorities this year, and this was done through working in cooperation with the business community," said Bowman, a Canadian foreign official who is to end his two-year chairmanship over the CTI from 2002-2004.
In 2004, the CTI agreed on transparency standards on government procurement, the ninth of such standards on trade policy areas, said Bowman, stressing that this is one of APEC's most substantial results on trade issues in recent years.
"The APEC transparency standards are the most comprehensive adopted by any international forum," said the official. "One of the main business concerns in the region is the lack of transparency. CTI is tackling this issue and delivering results. Our transparency standards are directly aimed at addressing key business concerns such as timely access to information."
Bowman said the CTI is a main channel through which APEC implements its 2002-2006 Trade Facilitation Action Plan (TFAP), adding that the committee conducted a mid-term review of the plan in October that showed APEC economies are on track with implementation.
The CTI also endorsed ABAC's views that WTO negotiations on trade facilitation should include commitments on transparency, efficiency, simplification, non-discrimination, procedural fairness, cooperation, and capacity building, the official added.
"One of the CTI's key roles is to help APEC to support the WTO.We paved the way for an agreement on trade facilitation at the WTO,and we also trained hundreds of officials from developing economies on WTO issues," said Bowman. "WTO capacity building is one of our key priorities."
The Committee also implemented initiatives in other areas, such as the protection of intellectual property rights, structural reform, the implementation of Pathfinder Initiatives, and in particular, the Pathfinder Statement on Trade and the Digital Economy, the official said.