The Republic of Korea has voluntarily contributed to greater economic integration in the Asia-Pacific through a donation of USD 700,000 to the APEC Trade and Investment Liberalization and Facilitation account. This is the third year in a row that Korea has provided this contribution.
Officials from the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and APEC Secretariat Executive Director Alan Bollard signed a memorandum of understanding on the eve of the Second APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting to take place in Ha Noi, Viet Nam on 17-18 May. It will be followed by the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting here on 20-21 May.
The additional funding is set for APEC projects that aim to improve the technical capacity of member economies to liberalize and facilitate trade and investment, and further strengthen regional economic integration.
APEC provides funding for around 100 projects annually which help economies learn from each other, exchange research that ease new integration initiatives, put together better rules, and make it easier for small businesses to flourish.
“We all know why free trade matters,” said Vice Minister Ahn Chong-gee of Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs at a preceding meeting of regional business leaders in Seoul. “Division of labor, comparative advantage, global value chains – these are straightforward concepts that have stood the test of time.”
“History tells us that when economies trade, they are more productive and competitive, and enjoy more choices and higher living standards. APEC economies bear testament.”
APEC projects are fuelled by contributions from member economies. While each member economy makes required contributions for the implementation of projects, accounts are, on occasion, replenished by endowments from individual members aiming to expedite certain projects and initiatives.
"Korea’s contribution comes at a time when small and medium enterprises are looking for better ways to do business,” said Dr Bollard. “This will give us a boost to continue to move the region on a path toward inclusive growth and sustainability.”
"We remain grateful for the continued support and trust that Korea has for APEC and its initiatives," he concluded.