The following is the full text of the Joint Ministerial Statement.
2017 APEC MINISTERIAL MEETING
Joint Ministerial Statement
We, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Ministers, met on 8 November 2017 in Da Nang, Viet Nam under the chairmanship of H.E. Pham Binh Minh, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and H.E. Tran Tuan Anh, Minister of Industry and Trade of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam.
We welcome the participation of the Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the 2017 Chair of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC), and the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF).
The global and regional economies have shown positive signs with growth picking up, and cyclical recovery continues unabated with higher employment rates in many of our economies. In the medium term, the risk of global financial conditions tightening remains and slower productivity gains continue to inhibit sustainable growth. Against this backdrop, it is imperative for APEC to put a high premium on sustaining the momentum of regional cooperation with a view to reinforcing our forum’s profile as a driver of economic growth and integration in the Asia-Pacific region.
Against such a backdrop, under the theme “Creating new dynamism, fostering a shared future”, we are committed to strengthening cooperation and taking joint actions to foster regional economic linkages and growth for a dynamic, inter-connected and prosperous APEC community and promote an Asia-Pacific partnership for inclusive and sustainable development.
We advance our work with focus on the following APEC 2017 priorities: (i) Promoting sustainable, innovative and inclusive growth; (ii) Deepening regional economic integration; (iii) Strengthening micro, small and medium-sized enterprises’ (MSMEs) competitiveness and innovation in the digital age; and (iv) Enhancing food security and sustainable agriculture in response to climate change. To this end, we pledge to take the following actions:
I. Deepening Regional Economic Integration
We remain committed to achieving the Bogor Goals of free and open trade and investment in the region. We will take concrete actions toward the achievement of the Bogor Goals by 2020.
We recognize the work of the WTO in ensuring international trade is rules-based, free, open, fair, transparent, predictable and inclusive. Members must improve adherence to rules as agreed upon. We commit to cooperate to improve the functioning of the WTO by addressing challenges. We recall our pledge to extend our standstill commitment until the end of 2020 and recommit to fight protectionism, including all unfair trade practices, recognizing the role of legitimate trade defense instruments.
We commit to work with other Members of the WTO towards a successful 11th Ministerial Conference.
We refer to our Leaders’ Declaration for an elaboration of our views.
Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP)
We commend the efforts of economies to implement the Lima Declaration on FTAAP. We encourage economies to make further progress on advancing the Lima Declaration on FTAAP and develop multi-year work programs to further enhance APEC economies’ ability to participate in high quality, comprehensive free trade agreement negotiations in the future. We instruct officials to advance technical work and related initiatives for the eventual realization of an FTAAP. We look forward to the implementation of the Action Plan Framework for the 3rd REI Capacity Building Needs Initiative (CBNI) and the RTAs/FTAs Information Sharing Mechanism.
Services and Investment.
We welcome the progress and encourage further implementation of the APEC Services Competitiveness Roadmap (ASCR). This includes the initiative on developing an index for the APEC region on the regulatory environment of services trade with a view to eventually covering all members based on the outcomes of the pilot programs and differences of member economies’ context in APEC, and the initiative to develop a set of non-binding principles for domestic regulation of the service sector. We stress the importance of capacity building and supporting MSMEs integration into global value chain in services industries.
We welcome the action plan for the interim review to be conducted in 2018 on the Manufacturing Related Services Action Plan (MSAP), and encourage economies to report on regulatory regimes and policy environments in manufacturing-related services.
We encourage the continued implementation of the Investment Facilitation Action Plan. We encourage economies to enhance capacity building, support more investment and policy dialogues, and promote inclusive business and community engagement to highlight the benefits of investment and encourage investment that supports inclusive economic growth.
Internet and Digital Economy
Bearing in mind the role of the Internet and Digital Economy in promoting innovative development and empowering economic participation, we emphasize the opportunities that the Internet and Digital Economy offers to achieve sustainable, inclusive and innovative growth, including businesses' participation, particularly MSMEs’ in GVCs and the global market. We commend the achievements of the Ad Hoc Steering Group on the Internet Economy (AHSGIE) and support the APEC Roadmap on Internet and Digital Economy. We encourage member economies to implement the Roadmap effectively.
We encourage economies’ initiatives to explore new areas of potential economic growth in the area of digital trade, including identifying building blocks. As building consumer trust in the use of the Internet is critical to the growth of Internet and Digital Economy in the region, we support continued dialogue between the public and private sectors to strengthen that trust through appropriate consumer protection and privacy rules.
To strengthen APEC's leadership in promoting cross-border e-commerce in the region, we endorse the APEC Cross-Border E-commerce Facilitation Framework (Annex A). We emphasize that MSMEs’ participation in the digital economy should foster inclusive growth and reduce inequality. In that regard, we recognize the importance of APEC Cross-Border Privacy Rules (CBPRs) System, a voluntary mechanism whose participants seek to expand participation. We support enhanced cooperation in this area, including through promoting capacity building.
We commit to constructively engage in discussions on e-commerce at the WTO and other international fora within their respective mandate.
Environmental Goods and Services
We commend the progress in implementing the commitment to reduce tariffs to five percent or less on the 54 products in the APEC List of Environmental Goods and strongly urge economies that have yet to fulfill this commitment to do so as soon as possible. We welcome the progress of implementing the Environmental Services Action Plan (ESAP) and look forward to further concrete outcomes.
Regional and sub-regional inclusive and comprehensive connectivity
Recognizing that strengthened connectivity contributes to opening up new sources of growth, we reaffirm our commitment to the overarching goal of a seamless and comprehensively inter-connected and integrated Asia-Pacific and applaud initiatives to implement the APEC Blueprint on Connectivity 2015-2025 across the 3 pillars of physical, institutional and people-to-people connectivity. We encourage new initiatives that will promote further work on progressing the Connectivity Blueprint before the mid-term review of 2020. We acknowledge the importance of adequate investment and strengthened public-private partnerships in infrastructure development in term of both quality and quantity. We welcome the progress of quality infrastructure initiatives, including the Peer Review and Capacity Building on APEC Infrastructure Development and Investment. We look forward to further deepening and accelerating initiatives, and welcome the upgrading of APEC Guidebook on Quality Infrastructure Development and Investment.
Noting the importance of the economic integration of rural and remote areas for sustainable and inclusive growth in the APEC region, we recommend actions to promote sub-regional, rural and remote area connectivity, sustainable tourism and reliable transportation, telecommunication and internet. We encourage officials to continue the discussion on practical initiatives to enhance rural development and poverty alleviation.
We acknowledge that fostering complementarity and synergy among connectivity initiatives provides new opportunities and serve as a driving force for regional prosperity. We commit to further promote collaboration and policy coordination between APEC and various regional mechanisms on the connectivity initiatives for the people and businesses in the region.
Global Value Chains and Supply Chain Connectivity
We welcome the progress to implement the APEC Strategic Blueprint for Promoting Global Value Chains Development and Cooperation to create an enabling environment for GVC development and cooperation, including the promotion of MSMEs’ participation. We note the launch of APEC Global Value Chain Partnership Platform, the Global Value Chains Investment Climate Improvement Report, and the 2018 Annual Work Plan on the APEC Technical Group of Measurement on Trade in Value-Added (TiVA), moving towards the completion of the APEC TiVA Database by 2018.
We welcome the conclusion of the study on Global Data Standards (GDS) and encourage officials to explore the wider use of interoperable GDS in the region.
We reaffirm our commitment to advance work programs that reduce trade costs in the region. To that end, we endorse the Monitoring Framework of the APEC Supply Chain Framework Action Plan Phase II 2017 - 2020 (SCFAP II) that aims to identify challenges, key stakeholders, targets and measurements for each of the SCFAP II chokepoints. We also commend the progress in promoting single window systems’ international interoperability and the study of the Policy Support Unit (PSU) on the issue. We note the initiatives such as the Asia-Pacific Model E-Port Network (APMEN) and its Implementation Measures for SCFAP II and APEC Port Services Network (APSN) and their contribution to supply chain connectivity in the region. We note the progress made by APEC Cooperation Network on Green Supply Chain (GSCNET) and its pilot centers to promote green development in APEC.
Good regulatory practices
We welcome efforts and instruct officials to continue working on aligning advertising standards. We recognize the benefits, effectiveness and efficiency of public sector and self-regulatory organizations working together on self-regulatory approaches, contributing to potential reduction of the cost of doing business in the region.
We note the publication of the 2016 Final Report on Good Regulatory Practices in APEC Economies, as well as continuing work to strengthen good regulatory practices of transparency, stakeholder consultation and internal coordination to enhance regulators’ understanding of the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade. We encourage officials to promote the active implementation of good regulatory practices in the report, including through appropriate capacity building activities.
Acknowledging the importance of supporting industry to the sustainable growth of the region, we welcome the APEC Best Practices for Promoting Supporting Industry in the Asia-Pacific region and encourage information sharing and related capacity building activities.
Noting the importance of risk-based chemicals management, we note the efforts of the APEC Chemical Dialogue to encourage the use of good regulatory practices and address divergences in the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) to facilitate trade.
We note the work done by the Auto Dialogue together with the Transportation Working Group (TPTWG) and the Energy Working Group (EWG) to facilitate Electric Vehicles (EV) use, production and trade throughout the region. We note the progress in implementing the APEC Roadmap for Electric Vehicles to facilitate adoption and implementation on international standards.
Intellectual Property Rights
We recognize the importance of cooperation in the area of intellectual property (IP) rights, including protection and enforcement. We encourage economies to promote IP policies and programs that cultivate, foster, support, protect and advance innovation and creativity. We welcome new initiatives that encourage entrepreneurship and innovation through effective and comprehensive measures, including IP systems and capacity-building. We note progress under the APEC Best Practices in Trade Secrets Protection and Enforcement Against Misappropriation and initiatives to enhance MSMEs’ innovation and capacity on IP enforcement and commercialization.
II. Promoting sustainable, innovative and inclusive growth
Economic, financial and social inclusion
We stress the importance of promoting economic, financial and social inclusion in promoting economic growth, narrowing the development gap, reducing inequality and broadening access to finance, quality education and health services with a view to further spreading the benefits of growth to all segments of our societies, including the most vulnerable groups, towards a more inclusive APEC community by 2030, thus consistent with 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. To this end, we adopt the Action Agenda on promoting Economic, Financial and Social Inclusion and submit the Action Agenda to APEC Leaders for their endorsement.
We commit to the robust implementation of the Renewed APEC Agenda for Structural Reform (RAASR) through economies’ Individual Action Plans (IAPs). We look forward to the RAASR Mid-term Review in 2018. We call on economies to take concrete unilateral actions and collaborate on initiatives to share experiences and capacity building for implementing IAPs throughout 2017 - 2020.
We welcome the 2017 APEC Economic Policy Report (AEPR) on Structural Reform and Human Capital Development, which provides a set of options members may wish to take into account when considering domestic policies. We approve the topic “Structural Reforms and Infrastructure” for the 2018 AEPR. We encourage collaboration between the Economic Committee and Senior Finance Officials on the 2018 AEPR. We welcome the APEC-OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) Framework on Competition Assessment, a tool helpful in achieving the benefits of competition.
We commit to effectively implement Phase II of the Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) initiative, including reaching the target of 10% improvement of the business environment by 2018.
Human Resources Development in the Digital Age
We acknowledge the progress made in implementing the APEC Education Strategy 2016 - 2030, and welcome its Action Plan to guide our work to promote competencies, innovation and employability in the APEC region. We encourage further cooperation in cross-border education, including higher education, and technical vocational education and training (TVET).
We welcome the outcomes of the High-level Policy Dialogue on Human Resources Development in the Digital Age which focused on promoting quality human resources and education, skills needed in the digital age, sustainable employment, social safety nets and capacity building, particularly for women and youth, persons with disabilities and other vulnerable groups. We adopt the APEC Framework on Human Resources Development in the Digital Age and submit it to APEC Leaders for their endorsement.
We welcome the outcomes of the Finance Ministers’ Process, particularly the Finance Ministers Joint Statement, and the progress towards implementing the Cebu Action Plan, enhancing fiscal reforms, economic resilience and integration, and contributing to strong, sustainable, innovative and inclusive growth in the Asia-Pacific region.
We appreciate the outcomes of the High-level Policy Dialogue on Sustainable Tourism. We underscore the importance of strengthening cooperation to facilitate sustainable tourism development and to highlight best practice in measurement and monitoring methodologies to enhance sustainable tourism. This helps with conserving and managing natural resources, biodiversity and ecosystems and built and living cultural heritages, and adapting to and capitalizing on new technologies to develop tourism and promote cultural exchange. In turn, this connects people in the APEC region and brings social, financial and economic integration of remote areas.
Women and the Economy
We recognize the outcomes of the APEC 2017 Women and the Economy Forum and we note the development of voluntary guidance on gender inclusion by the Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy. We commit to women’s economic, financial and social inclusion across APEC economies. We call on economies to support women’s economic empowerment through concrete policies and measures to improve women’s access to capital, assets, markets, and capacity building and to improve women’s skills, education, and health outcomes. We encourage economies to support policies and programs that increase women’s leadership and gender diversity in management; provide better opportunities for women in the cultural and creative industries; and harness innovation to better bridge gender gaps, including by boosting career opportunities in high-growth, high-wage sectors like science, technology, and transportation. We advocate for the promotion of women’s entrepreneurship through expanding women’s entrepreneurship networks, and in this regard, we commend the second APEC contest for women-entrepreneurs APEC Business Efficiency and Success Target Awards (APEC BEST Awards). We welcome the efforts to integrate gender across APEC, including through the 2017 version of the APEC Women and the Economy Dashboard, and the establishment of the
Women and the Economy Sub-fund.
We commend initiatives and projects to implement the Healthy Asia-Pacific 2020 Roadmap (HAP), including the progress in developing key performance indicators of HAP 2020 priorities, and encourage and promote innovation and partnerships to address health-related issues. We also encourage economies to share best practices and explore innovative sustainable health financing tools, improve health systems and recognize that members’ goals to promote Universal Health Coverage (UHC) can be important in building healthy populations which in turn support economic growth. We welcome the outcomes of the High-level Meeting on Health and the Economy, including efforts for healthy aging societies, and the High-level Dialogue on Innovation, Regulatory Systems, and Regulatory Convergences. We value the importance of efficient, science – and risk – based regulatory systems in enabling life sciences innovation and welcome the first-ever Life Sciences Innovation Forum High Level Dialogue on this topic. We also welcome ongoing support from the APEC Harmonization Center and the Regulatory Harmonization Steering Committee on regulatory convergence and the launch of network of APEC Regulatory Science Centers of Excellence (CoEs). We commend the progress achieved by APEC members in establishing the Supply Chain Security Toolkit for Medical Products.
Science, Technology and Innovation (STI)
We encourage further STI information exchange and policy coordination among member economies as well as increased engagement of multi-stakeholders such as private, scientific, industrial and academic sectors in promoting inclusive and innovative development. We commend the 2017 APEC Science Prize for Innovation, Research and Education (ASPIRE) under the theme “New Material Technologies”, PPSTI Policy Statement on STI Communication and PPSTI Jiading Declaration on Internet of Vehicles. We recognize that STI has an important role in underpinning sustainable economic growth and development, and the full benefit of innovation can only be realized by promoting an enabling environment for scientific research and market-based innovation, STI capacity building, public involvement in STI and collaboration amongst APEC economies.
We emphasize the need to achieve people-oriented, sound and sustainable urbanization. We welcome the implementation of the APEC Cooperation Initiative for Jointly Establishing an Asia-Pacific Urbanization Partnership, including the PSU’s study on Partnerships for the Sustainable Development of Cities in the APEC Region. We encourage APEC economies to further enhance cooperation through knowledge sharing and policy coordination to promote sustainable urbanization. We recognize the APEC 2017 Dialogue on Sustainable Urbanization and note the Guidebook for Development of Sustainable Cities.
Persons with Disabilities
We support full inclusion of persons with disabilities in our economies. We encourage officials to promote equal access of persons with disabilities to high quality, inclusive education and training, as well as competitive, integrated employment. We recognize the efforts of the Group of Friends on Disability in promoting the employment of persons with disabilities through advancing their participation in the internet economy and the open labor market without discrimination and on equal basis with others.
Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Management
Recognizing the Asia-Pacific region as one of the most disaster-prone regions in the world, in face of the “new normal” – the increasing frequency, magnitude and scope of natural disasters, including earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, typhoons, rising sea levels, drought, flood, wildfires and other extreme weather events, we emphasize the need for economies’ continued efforts in building a resilient, sustainable, inclusive, people-and-business-centered APEC community. We pledge to implement the APEC Disaster Risk Reduction Framework Action Plan with emphasis on cooperation in capacity building, early warning systems, disaster risk assessment and financing policies, mitigation, search and rescue, and post disaster recovery assistance. We welcome the outcomes of 11th Senior Disaster Management Officials Forum and the Joint Recommendations on enhancing science and technology for disaster risk reduction.
We reiterate our previous commitments to prevent and fight against corruption, domestically and globally, including APEC’s Beijing Declaration on Fighting Corruption, and to effectively implement the UN Convention against Corruption. We commit to strengthen the role of the APEC Network of Anti-Corruption Authorities and Law Enforcement Agencies (ACT-NET) in enhancing informal and pragmatic cross-border cooperation among law enforcement agencies in fighting corruption, bribery, money laundering, as well as in recovery of stolen assets. We advocate efforts to share and implement good practices, including related to fighting corruption and illicit trade, and underscore the importance of enhanced international and regional cooperation. We are committed to deny safe havens for corrupt officials and their proceeds of corruption. We also commit to working towards strengthened cooperation on extradition.
We commit to work cooperatively to improve our preparedness to effectively respond to regional terrorism challenges, through the implementation of the APEC Consolidated Counter-Terrorism and Secure Trade Strategy, increased cooperation to ensure secure supply chains, infrastructure, finance, travel, trade and seamless connectivity.
III. Strengthening the MSMEs’ Competitiveness and Innovation
We pledge to implement the Boracay Action Agenda to Globalize MSMEs and to conduct the mid-term review in 2018. We welcome the development of the Compendium on Methodologies for SMEs Internationalization and the launch of the “MSME Marketplace”. We also support initiatives to promote e-commerce to expand MSMEs participation in the global value chain.
We adopt the APEC Strategy for Green, Sustainable and Innovative MSMEs (Annex B). We encourage member economies to create an enabling environment for MSMEs to engage in activities that would lead to a sustainable and inclusive Asia-Pacific.
We call for a reduction in costs associated with non-tariff barriers to facilitate the building of MSMEs' capacity for internationalization and the promotion of a pro-competitive environment with a view to widening access to finance, infrastructure, particularly IT infrastructure and technology. We support initiatives to foster greater MSMEs' capacity and participation in e-commerce, and promote “Online-to-Offline” (O2O) model and digital resilience. We welcome the establishment of APEC SME Center for IT Promotion.
We welcome the APEC Initiative on Promoting Innovative Start-ups with a view to building a strong and vibrant start-up ecosystem in the APEC region. We urge APEC economies to support start-ups through establishing conducive regulatory frameworks that promote a business-friendly environment.
IV. Enhancing Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture in Response to Climate Change
We reiterate the importance of food security and sustainable and resilient agriculture, aquaculture and fisheries in eradicating poverty, increasing agricultural trade, promoting sustainable and inclusive development in the Asia-Pacific region. We welcome the outcomes of the High-Level Policy Dialogue on Enhancing Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture in Response to Climate Change. We reaffirm our commitment to realize a sustainable APEC food system through the implementation of the APEC Food Security Roadmap towards 2020.
Food Security and Climate Change
We urge member economies to strengthen policy coordination and cooperation and share experiences in addressing the relationship between food security and climate change and collaborate on technology development, information sharing, and capacity building. We recognize that innovation in agriculture, aquaculture and fisheries can grow trade, increase farm productivity and incomes, and build resilience to resource constraints in the context of climate change. We note the role of the APEC Climate Center (APCC) in fostering strengthened science-based climate information systems for environmental and risk management related to food production. We welcome the endorsement of the Food Security and Climate Change Multi-Year Action Plan 2018-2020 (Annex C).
Sustainable Management of Natural Resources
We support increased policy and technical cooperation to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness in natural resources management and utilization while securing the long-term and disaster – resilient food supply. We call for closer coordination to foster sustainable use and management of land, forestry, marine and water resources to ensure both food security and environmental protection, while promoting biodiversity conservation. We recognize the importance of the blue economy in sustainable food security, commend the progress in this area, including in developing the APEC Marine Sustainable Development Report II. We believe it is crucial to strengthen policy and technical cooperation to improve sustainable use of natural resources while securing long-term food supply, including addressing the negative impacts of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing on fish stocks, the marine environment and food security. We encourage all economies and stakeholders, particularly the private sector, to engage in ocean-related cooperation, including investment in sustainable materials management and waste management infrastructure, to reduce land based sources of marine debris in APEC.
Sustainable Rural-Urban Development
We call on APEC economies to promote sustainable, resilient and inclusive rural-urban development with emphasis on improving the participation and welfare of disadvantaged groups, smallholder farmers and small-scale fishermen, and MSMEs in the agricultural and aquaculture sector to ensure livelihoods, poverty reduction, food security and natural resources conservation. We will continue to share experiences in comprehensive rural-urban development. We welcome the endorsement of the APEC Action Plan on Rural-Urban Development to Strengthen Food Security and Quality Growth (Annex D).
Facilitation of Trade and Investment in Agriculture and the Food Market
We recognize that trade and investment in food, agriculture, aquaculture and fisheries are crucial to food security in the APEC region and beyond. Recognizing APEC's role in the global food market and in securing the global and regional food value chains and supply chains, we call for strengthened cooperation in facilitating investment in agriculture, rural transportation and logistics, food processing and retail, and related services. We reaffirm our commitment to engage constructively and make all concerted efforts to adopt a permanent solution on the issue of public stockholding for food security purposes, as committed. We also encourage economies to address relevant measures, including Non-Tariff Measures and Non-Tariff Barriers. We encourage regional cooperation on food standards and improved efficiency of food trade.
Food Loss and Waste Control
We commit to implement the APEC Action Plan for Reducing Food Loss and Waste and encourage initiatives to control post-harvest food loss and waste, including the development of infrastructure, application and transfer of advanced technologies for processing, storing and preserving food across the food value chain and strengthening public and private partnership.
We encourage member economies to continue advancing work in the Food Safety Cooperation Forum, including its Partnership Training Institutes Network, and the Wine Regulatory Forum, to promote the use of science-based standards and guidelines and risk-based approaches to regulation of food and wine so as to protect human, plant and animal health and facilitate trade.
V. Economic and Technical Cooperation (ECOTECH) and Other Sectoral Outcomes
We support cooperation to build capacity, bridge development gaps, and assist member economies to fulfill APEC's long-term goals. We welcome the incorporation of capacity building policies into the Guidebook on APEC Projects. We welcome and encourage members' further contributions to the APEC Support Fund and its sub-funds, as well as members’ efforts in providing capacity building. We acknowledge the 2017 ECOTECH Report and welcome the APEC Guidelines on Promoting Cross-fora Collaboration.
We welcome the efforts toward reducing aggregate energy intensity, accelerating clean, efficient, and renewable energy deployment, pursuing sustainable and resilient energy development, and developing diversified, flexible and integrated natural gas market in the Asia-Pacific, which in particular may contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. To this end, we urge economies to strengthen coordination and cooperation through sharing best practices, and deploying advanced technologies, including waste recycling. We note with appreciation efforts to pursue energy smart communities and low carbon model towns.
Bearing in mind that energy access, energy resilience, and energy security are significant to our long-term prosperity and shared future, we strive for a clean, sustainable and secure energy system. We stress the importance of promoting energy-related trade and investment in fostering sustainable, resilient and safe energy infrastructure.
Recognizing the importance of sustainable development, use and trade of minerals and metals in generating socio-economic benefits, we are continuing to apply the APEC Mining Policy Principles and encourage sharing best practices in management; voluntary technology transfer and capacity building in sustainable development of the mining sector.
Forestry and Wildlife
We welcome the outcomes of the 4th APEC Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Forestry. We recognize the importance of achieving and assessing in due course, aspirational goal of increasing forest cover in the region by at least 20 million hectares by 2020. We commit to foster sustainable forest management and conservation and reforestation. We commit to work together to combat illegal logging and associated trade and support capacity building for APEC economies, application of technology and best practices. We emphasize the importance of strengthening our efforts and increasing cooperation among members economies in preventing and combating illicit wildlife trafficking.
We commend the outcomes of the Transportation Ministerial Meeting and underline the significance of developing a safe, secure, resilient, efficient and sustainable transport system. We welcome initiatives to adopt new technologies in the transport sector. We note the development of a transport connectivity map. We stress the importance of building capacity in this regard.
Telecommunications and Information
We welcome the implementation of the Telecommunications and Information Working Group (TEL) Strategic Action Plan 2016 - 2020. We support the continued development of information technology and communications, promoting a secure, resilient and trusted information and communications technologies (ICT) environment. We stress the importance of capacity building and the application of new technologies to promote innovative and inclusive growth. We commend TEL for its coordination with other fora to develop a safe and reliable information technology environment.
VI. Looking Forward
We share a common vision to build a peaceful, stable, dynamic, inclusive and prosperous Asia-Pacific region. We welcome the discussion at the Multi-Stakeholders Dialogue on APEC Toward 2020 and Beyond and welcome the endorsement of the initiative on APEC Toward 2020 and Beyond, including the establishment of an APEC Vision Group.
We reaffirm APEC's global leadership in promoting growth, regional economic integration, trade and investment liberalization, and addressing global challenges, and we recognize APEC’s contribution to sustainable development. In doing so, we are committed to strengthening APEC's cooperation and coordination with other international and regional organizations. We welcome member economies’ initiatives to promote trade and investment in the region. We congratulate ASEAN on its 50th anniversary, commend its achievements and support further synergy between APEC and ASEAN in fostering inclusive growth and comprehensive connectivity.
We welcome continued deliberation and efforts aimed at improving and streamlining APEC governance to ensure it is more relevant, accountable, effective and responsive, while ensuring continuity of its core agenda. We emphasize the importance of cross-fora collaboration within APEC and encourage outreach with the business community. We appreciate the active contributions of APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) to the APEC process. We grant an ongoing mandate to the Policy Support Unit (PSU).
We endorse the 2017 APEC SOM Chair's Report, the Annual Report of the Committee on Trade and Investment to Ministers, and take note of the 2017 Report of the APEC Secretariat Executive Director. We approve the 2018 APEC Secretariat Account Budget and corresponding level of 2018 Members' Contributions.
We look forward to Papua New Guinea's hosting of APEC 2018.-