As APEC officials prepare for the second cluster of high-level meetings to be held in Port Moresby this year, top Papua New Guinea business representatives join their Australian counterparts to encourage investment and demonstrate support for priorities to boost the digital economy, small business competitiveness, inclusive growth and structural reform in the Asia-Pacific.

Addressing the annual Australia - Papua New Guinea Business Forum and Trade Expo, APEC Secretariat Executive Director, Dr Alan Bollard, talked about how Papua New Guinea will lead the 21 member economies in groundbreaking work this year that reflects the new face of globalization.

“The broad objectives of APEC have been durable over a quarter of a century,” he said. “We are still looking to improve the livelihoods of people in the region by linking them up to regional economic growth drivers.”

He stressed, however, that today is very a different world from when member economies first formed the forum.

“There are several new trends that are impacting APEC,” said Dr Bollard, citing a broad set of issues ranging from changing trade patterns, demographic shifts, new technologies and new anti-globalization pressures.

“Providing leadership in this new environment with its protectionist threats will not be easy,” he said, adding that “each host has to balance the focus between the interests of their own and 20 other economies.”

But hosting has its benefits, which are “more likely to be long term and diffuse,” and in the form of experiences, knowledge and insight into policy, technology and innovation to aid Papua New Guinea’s drive for economic inclusiveness in the region.

“We are not looking to Papua New Guinea to save the world from all its globalization woes this year,” Dr Bollard concluded. “Rather, we are looking for leadership to keep APEC moving forward, and for fresh thinking on some exciting new approaches.”

Port Moresby will host senior officials on 11-12 May, then trade ministers on 25-26 May. Among the activities planned around these major gatherings will be the initial meetings of the APEC Vision Group, the first body of its kind, assembled precisely to deliberate upon on the forum’s post-2020 goals and focus in the world ahead.

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