Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has highlighted the importance of sub-regional groups from Pacific Islands, Asia and Latin America countries taking their views into the APEC process. PM O’Neill further said he welcomes discussion with counterpart economies on the expansion of APEC membership.
The Prime Minister made the comments following the first meeting of APEC Leaders with the Pacific Alliance, a grouping of four Latin American countries that is working towards greater economic integration and development.
“The issues that affect the Asia-Pacific are felt beyond the 21 APEC members, but are felt by many other countries in the region so it is important that their voices are heard in APEC,” PM O’Neill said. “This includes members of the Pacific Islands Forum, ASEAN and the Pacific Alliance who are not APEC members. “In our region, the views of Pacific Islands Forum nations need to be considered by the broader APEC community, and I know this feedback is always well received. “Issues such as access to global value and supply chains, non-tariff barriers to trade and connectivity are important to our Pacific Island states.
"The dialogues with the Pacific Alliance gave a good insight into the issues and challenges affecting our counterparts in Latin America. “During APEC in 2018 it is important for another meeting of APEC Leaders with Pacific Islands Forum Leaders takes place to discuss significant regional issues.” PM O’Neill said the time appears to be right for a renewed discussion on the expansion of APEC Membership. “There has been no expansion of APEC membership since 1998 and this has been effective for consolidating the APEC policy agenda.
“Now I think the APEC agenda has progressed to a position where we can have a discussion on inviting new members into APEC. “There are a number of countries who have the potential to become an APEC member economy, certainly India and Colombia have a very strong case for being included in APEC. “This is a discussion that must take place with our partner APEC Member Economies.”
The four members of the Pacific Alliance are: Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru