Trade ministers from the 21 members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, including Canada, will start laying the groundwork for the Free Trade Area of the Asia- Pacific (FTAAP).
The move will speed up the economic integration process in the region. Philippine Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo said the Ministers Responsible for Trade meeting slated on May 23 to 24 in the Philippines will focus on the regional economic integration, among other main areas.
Domingo, who is also APEC 2015 MRT Chair, said APEC trade ministers will come out with the terms of reference for the study on FTAAP this year.
“So that’s what is being finalized… Expectation is the study will be started in 2016,” he said during the preMRT press briefing.
Domingo said they will also discuss efforts in line with the achievement of the Bogor Goals aimed at enhancing the regional economic integration agenda, support for the multilateral trading system and fostering participation of the micro, small and m e d i u m enterprises (MSMEs) in regional and global markets.
For her part, Doris Magsaysay Ho, APECBusiness Advisory Council (ABAC) 2015 Chair, said that APEC also wants to ensure that the FTAAP is relevant to the MSMEs. so we want to be sure that
“There are a lot of the FTAAP actually considers emerging newgeneration them,” she said in another business models arising press briefing.