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Cablegate: Apec - Gos Reviews 2009 Goals with Senior Official

VZCZCXRO4537
RR RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHFK RUEHHM RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH RUEHPB
DE RUEHGP #0115/01 0300404
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 300404Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY SINGAPORE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4808
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE
RUEHZU/ASIAN PACIFIC ECONOMIC COOPERATION
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 2738
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2108
RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO 0092
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 0347
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA 0300
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 0113
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 4194
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 5853
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 1424
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 6344
RUEHIN/AIT TAIPEI 6430
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 SINGAPORE 000115

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

EAP/EP FOR SENIOR OFFICIAL HASLACH
USTR FOR AUSTR CUTLER AND AUSTR WEISEL

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD ECON EINV APEC SN
SUBJECT: APEC - GOS REVIEWS 2009 GOALS WITH SENIOR OFFICIAL
HASLACH

1. (SBU) Summary: Singapore's main focus when it takes over
the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) chair in 2009
from the current chair, Peru, will be regional economic
integration and laying the groundwork for an eventual Free
Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP), Ministry of Trade and
Industry (MTI) Second Permanent Secretary Ravi Menon told
U.S. Senior Official to APEC Patricia Haslach on January 24.
He highlighted six proposed work areas that Singapore has
identified to help move the economic integration agenda
forward, including a study to assess the feasibility of
"docking" or merging existing free trade agreements (FTAs)
and ways to promote investment. Singapore will also push
hard for reform of the APEC Secretariat in 2009, to include
implementation of a fixed appointment system for the
Secretariat's Executive Director position and creation of a

SIPDIS
Policy Support Unit. End summary.

2. (SBU) Senior Official Haslach visited Singapore January
24 to discuss progress toward achieving a broad range of APEC
objectives related to regional economic integration and
reform of the APEC Secretariat. She focused on Singapore's
goals after it takes over from Peru as APEC Chair in 2009
during her meeting with Second PermSec (and APEC Senior
Official) Ravi Menon. She met separately with Ministry of
Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Health officials, as well as
Singapore-based academics and business representatives. She
also gave an interview with the Straits Times.

Regional Economic Integration (REI) Tops the Agenda
--------------------------------------------- ------

3. (SBU) Singapore's main focus for 2009 will be regional
economic integration and laying the groundwork for an
eventual FTAAP, PermSec Menon said. Singapore also hopes to
highlight that 2009 marks the 20th anniversary of APEC.
Important to these efforts will be for APEC's key members
such as the United States, Japan, and China to reach
consensus on a way forward. The starting point is APEC's
report issued in September 2007 on "Strengthening Regional
Economic Integration" that takes into account a possible
FTAAP as a long-term prospect. PermSec Menon expressed his
hope that senior officials will carry forward the work plan
laid out in the report during the SOM-1 (first Senior
Officials Meeting) in February 2008 in Lima. He cited six
proposed work areas, which Singapore had recently identified
based on the report and distributed to other senior officials
(see note below). Peru, host of APEC in 2008, needs
assistance from other APEC economies to begin the
implementation process, he said.

4. (SBU) Singapore is on track to complete a study that
examines the feasibility of "docking" or merging existing
FTAs in time for the Committee on Trade and Investment (CTI)
meeting in March, CTI Chair and MTI Director (APEC and
Americas) Mary Elizabeth Chelliah said. PermSec Menon
suggested that the FTAAP could be created either by
"stitching" together various FTAs such as NAFTA or by
expanding on existing plurilateral FTAs such as the "P-4"
(Trans-Pacific Economic Partnership) Agreement between
Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, and Singapore. Senior Official
Haslach said that the P-4 approach, which could allow other
economies to eventually join the agreement, appeared to be a
feasible long-term option. PermSec Menon expressed his hope
that an FTAAP can be launched during the U.S. year in 2011.

Recommended Action Plans: An Overview
--------------------------------------

5. (SBU) Note: Singapore recently proposed six work areas
to promote regional economic integration within APEC. These
work areas encompass the following initiatives that build on
action items agreed to in the September 2007 APEC REI report
(to view the report, go to

SINGAPORE 00000115 002 OF 003


http://www.apec.org/apec/publications.html#La test):

-- Merging FTAs: Conduct a study of the issues to be
considered in "docking" or merging existing agreements and to
recommend a preferred approach. To be completed by the March
2008 CTI meeting for endorsement at the APEC Economic
Leaders' meeting (AELM) in Lima in November 2008.

-- Demonstration Chapters: Work with Peru to complete an
analysis of existing bilateral and plurilateral FTAs among
APEC economies. Identify high convergence areas for
development of possible demonstration chapters, in part to
enable economies to identify possible ways to advance the
FTAAP concept.

-- Rules of Origin (ROO): Expand the current examination of
various types of preferential ROO used in the APEC region.
ROO studies for automotive and chemicals chapters commenced
January 2008; Singapore intends to propose extending the ROO
studies to other chapters at the February 2008 CTI for
completion at the February 2009 CTI. Singapore also suggests
that APEC launch a ROO "pathfinder" at the 2008 AELM for
completion at the 2009 AELM.

-- Trade Facilitation: Develop a trade facilitation
demonstration chapter, taking into account WTO negotiations
and possibly based on the relevant P-4 chapter. If feasible,
launch a Trade Facilitation Agreement at the 2008 AELM.

-- Investment: Build on the existing work of the APEC
Investment Expert Group (IEG) to identify core
investment-related elements of existing FTAs and with a view
to developing principles for investment agreements. Table a
paper on suggested core elements at the 2008 IEG and CTI
meetings.

-- Investment Facilitation Action Plan (IFAP): Develop an
IFAP for endorsement at the 2008 APEC Ministers Responsible
for Trade (MRT) meeting.

End note.

Investment Facilitation Action Plan
-----------------------------------

6. (SBU) PermSec Menon said that the Japanese are especially
interested in the recommendation made in the REI Report to
develop an IFAP within APEC. He surmised that Japan will
likely push for conclusion of an investment agreement during
its APEC year in 2010.

Secretariat Reform

SIPDIS
------------------

7. (SBU) Singapore will continue to promote reform of the
APEC Secretariat in accordance with the Busan Roadmap and the
Hanoi Action Plan, PermSec Menon told Senior Official
Haslach. In particular, Singapore will push during its APEC
year for a change to a fixed appointment system for the APEC
Secretariat Executive Director position (Note: The Executive

SIPDIS
Director position currently rotates annually among APEC
host-economies. End note.)

Policy Support Unit
-------------------

8. (SBU) PermSec Menon expressed his hope that APEC would
have a Policy Support Unit (PSU) operational by the end of
2008. He suggested that APEC convene a PSU-related seminar
to help build momentum for this initiative. Director
Chelliah said that the existing APEC Study Centers could
serve as a resource to promote the PSU concept. (Note:
Australia and Japan spearheaded the PSU initiative during the

SINGAPORE 00000115 003 OF 003


2007 APEC year as a way to enhance the analytical capacity of
APEC on regional trade and economic reform issues. End note.)

9. (U) Senior Official Haslach cleared this message.

Visit Embassy Singapore's Classified website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eap/singapore/ind ex.cfm
HERBOLD

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