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Part3 - APEC 2001 Joint Ministerial Statement

JOINT STATEMENT of THE 13th APEC MINISTERIAL MEETING

Shanghai, People's Republic of China 17-18 October 2001(Part III)

New Economy Issues

E-APEC

41. The information technology revolution is one of the major forces transforming the world and the APEC region into the 21st century. Ministers reaffirmed their confidence in the immense potential of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and its applications in upgrading the welfare and living standard of our people in the APEC region. Ministers emphasized the importance of the development of New Economy, the ICT revolution and its applications.

42. As instructed by the Leaders, a long-term, forward-looking and action-oriented e-APEC Strategy has been formulated by developing and expanding the Action Agenda for New Economy this year. Ministers commended the efforts made by the e-APEC Task Force, and endorsed the e-APEC Strategy, which demonstrated APEC's resolve to spur ICT development with the vision of an approaching digital society. Ministers urged members to take concrete and concerted actions to implement the e-APEC Strategy so as to maximize the benefits of the ICT revolution, address the digital divide and benefit from the opportunities presented by the emerging New Economy.

43. The e-APEC Strategy consists of the following three pillars:

---- Create an environment for strengthening market structure and institutions; Ministers urged economies to implement appropriate policies and actions to promote sustainable and sound macroeconomic policy framework, sustained structural reform, an effective competition regime, good financial and corporate governance, etc. and actions to promote sustainable growth.

---- Create an environment for infrastructure investment and technology development; Ministers encouraged economies to create a policy environment conducive to competitive investment and the widespread uptake of beneficial technologies.

---- Enhance human capacity building and entrepreneurship development.

Ministers urged economies to take actions to improve human capacity building and promote entrepreneurship. Ministers also encouraged economies to develop innovation-oriented policies and promote the participation of SMEs in New Economy activities.

44. Ministers urged member economies to take concrete actions to turn the e-APEC vision into reality, which would definitely help facilitate spreading the benefits of the New Economy, enhancing the momentum of economic development and revitalizing not only regional, but also the global economy. Ministers encouraged member economies and relevant APEC fora to implement the e-APEC Strategy through broad cooperation and collaboration. In this regard, Ministers directed Senior Officials, in cooperation with the Finance Deputies, where appropriate, to facilitate and oversee the process of implementing the Strategy and report the outcomes to the responsible Ministers at their next year's meeting in Mexico. Ministers welcomed the report on progress in developing the Network of Skills Development Centres and encourage full participation by members.

E-commerce

45. Ministers noted and welcomed the progress made by Electronic Commerce Steering Group (ECSG) on promoting and coordinating E-commerce-related activities across APEC sub-fora, including the completion of the APEC 2001 Electronic Commerce Stocktake. In this regard, Ministers endorsed the recommended work program on E-commerce in APEC. Ministers also endorsed the proposal by the ECSG to develop APEC guidelines for online consumer protection and noted the proposal to organize a public/private sector forum regarding online privacy and E-commerce during 2002.

46. Noting the different roles of private and public sectors in promoting the development of E-commerce as well as the needs to strengthening the linkage between them in this field, Ministers endorsed the proposal of the establishment of the APEC E-commerce Business Alliance. Ministers also welcomed the proposal to strengthen economic and technical cooperation in the area of E-commerce with a view to narrowing the gap between member economies in the application of E-commerce.

47. Ministers welcomed Individual Action Plans on Paperless Trading submitted by some member economies, encouraged other member economies to participate in the delivery of Paperless Trading IAPs, and instructed SOM to report on progress to the MRT Meeting in 2002. Ministers also welcomed the report on Paperless Trading: Benefits to APEC, and encouraged APEC members to reduce regulatory and institutional barriers to paperless trading.

48. Ministers recognised the growth of global electronic commerce and the importance of a legal and policy framework which both ensures business and public confidence and avoids unnecessarily restrictive trade barriers while respecting national policy objectives in order to allow E-commerce to develop its full potential to create new opportunities for trade.

Other Existing and New Initiatives

49. Ministers welcomed the progress report made by lead economies on various existing and new initiatives on e-APEC activities. Ministers welcomed the implementation of Phase I of the project on Transforming the Digital Divide into a Digital Opportunity by Chinese Taipei and urged the early implementation of Phase II work in 2002. Ministers welcomed Korea's offer to host a high-level conference on strengthening APEC cooperation for establishing e-government, and a seminar on empowering people with disabilities in the Information and Technology (IT) age in 2002. In response to Vietnam's New Economy Initiative on Strengthening the Legal Framework for E-Commerce, Ministers agreed to convene an E-Commerce Legal Infrastructure Workshop at the 25th TEL meeting in 2002 in Hanoi, Vietnam.

50. Ministers reaffirmed commitments to triple access to the Internet by 2005, and to ensure that all groups within an economy have access individually or through community-based services to the Internet by 2010; and they commended the TEL for developing a Digital Divide Blueprint for Action and called for its completion and implementation.

51. Ministers welcomed efforts and policy findings by TEL on ICT development and diffusion, for the creation of a policy environment in the APEC region for universal access, the liberalization of the market, the realization of digital opportunities, and the security of information infrastructure and networks. Ministers recognized the important role of the private sectors in developing and diffusing ICT and encouraged enhanced cooperation among members and all stakeholders with the effective leadership of governments in upgrading capacity into a digital and prosperous future. In this regard, Ministers instructed the e-APEC Task Force, TEL, ECSG, HRD, and SME WGs, and other APEC fora to continue their endeavors in carrying forward the e-APEC activities in various areas within APEC and enhance their cooperation in ICT development in the region.

Development of SMEs

52. Ministers welcomed the outcomes from the 8th SMEs Ministerial Meeting held in Shanghai under the theme of "New Century, New Challenges: Innovation and Environment for SME Development". They acknowledged the vital role and importance of SMEs in promoting economic recovery and long-term sustainable economic growth. Ministers urged member economies to consider the key strategies recommended by the SME Ministerial Meeting in the development of SMEs and continue to examine thoroughly the obstacles faced by SMEs. The recommendations identified are: Advancing Technological Innovation through Cooperation, Facilitating Financing and Improving the Environment for SME Development.

53. In times of economic uncertainty, Ministers acknowledged the need to redouble efforts to support growth and development of small and micro enterprises. Recognizing the importance of enhanced cooperation in human capacity building and information sharing for the benefit of SMEs across the Asia Pacific region, Ministers welcomed efforts by the Philippines and Canada as lead economies' to further on-going SME programs for training and certification of APEC SME Counselors and developing commercial alliances under the Business Partnership Initiative for SMEs. Ministers welcomed the "International Cooperation Forum on Innovative Management Skills" to be implemented by Russia in 2002 and encouraged active participation by all economies. Recognizing the benefits to SME policy makers to better serve SME constituencies across APEC, Ministers also endorsed the "Voluntary Visitor Program for APEC SME Government Officials" and called for the United States to hold the program next spring and report on results to the 9th APEC SME Ministerial Meeting in August 2002.

Sectoral Ministerial Meetings

54. Ministers took note of the report presented by Peru regarding the postponement of the 3rd Transportation Ministerial Meeting due to the cancellation of the Ministers of several members after the terrorist attacks in the United States last September, and welcomed Peru's offer to host the event in March 2003.

55. Ministers welcomed the progress made towards assisting economies to implement the operational plan under Transportation Working Group including the progress in implementing the recommendations for more competitive air services on a voluntary basis. Ministers noted the ongoing efforts in transportation safety and security, and supported efforts to promote international cooperation for the suppression of terrorism, piracy, and armed robbery.

56. Ministers welcomed Korea's offer to host the 1st APEC Ocean Related Ministerial Meeting in 2002 and recognized that, it would contribute to strengthening cooperation on sustainable marine and fisheries resources development.

57. Ministers acknowledged that the review on the implementation of initiatives of APEC Sectoral Ministerial Meetings is vital to ensuring the overall effectiveness of the APEC process. Ministers commended officials for their efforts and directed them to urge APEC fora to continue to implement the decisions and initiatives of various Sectoral Ministerial Meetings.(more)

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