PNG PM O'Neill Issues APEC Communique

Papua New Guinea Prime  Minister Peter O’Neill issued the Era Kone Statement on Saturday to officially conclude the 26th APEC Leaders’ Summit which PNG hosted.

The statement comes a week after the meeting ended last Sunday, November 18, with regional leaders unable to reach a consensus on trade and deciding not to issue their usual joint communique. An unprecedented agreement among the leaders was to authorise the PNG chairmanship to issue a joint statement reflecting the consensus and agreement among the various members, thus the Era Kone Statement.

The “chairman’s statement” by Mr O’Neill comes days after rampage by members of the joint security forces which led to millions of kina damage to Parliament House over their APEC allowances.

Mr O’Neill, who chaired APEC Leaders’ Summit, said the Era Kone Statement reflected his assessment of the prevailing views of all APEC member economies.

“Most economies agreed with the full text, while a small number had alternative or additional views on a couple of sentences,” he said in the statement. Mr O’Neill said that recognising the significant challenges facing the Asia-Pacific region’s economies, the leaders were resolved to take concrete steps on the following actions:

1. Embracing the Digital Future

2. Progressing the Bogor Goals

3. Post-2020 Vision

4. Improving Connectivity, Deepening Regional Economic Integration

5. Promoting Sustainable and Inclusive Growth

6. Strengthening Inclusive Growth through Structural Reform

7. Looking Forward

The statement also contained one annex: The APEC Action Agenda on the Digital Economy.

In addition, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Rimbink Pato issued the APEC ministerial chair’s statement which reflected the full discussion, including areas where member economies did not reach full consensus.

The statement addresses support for APEC 2018 priorities and strengthening APEC as an institution.

The chair’s statement for the 30th joint ministerial meeting also includes one annex: Cross Cutting Principles on Non-Tariff Measures.

Officials from China and the US clashed over whether the communique should include language which criticised Beijing’s trade practices, as well as the World Trade Organisation. Conflicting visions for the region had made it difficult to draft a summit communique, PNG Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato said, as the United States and China revealed competing ambitions for the region.

The 21 nations at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Port Moresby struggled to bridge differences on the role of the World Trad Organisation, which governs international trade.
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