Mr. Rowell G. Casaclang and Mr. Jovito Jose P. Katigbak, Foreign Affairs Research Specialists of the Foreign Service Institute’s Center for International Relations and Strategic Studies (CIRSS), recently participated in the APEC Study Centers’ Consortium (ASCC) Conference 2017 held on 12-13 May 2017at the National Convention Centre in Hanoi, Vietnam.
The conference featured seven sessions and over 40 speakers from 15 APEC member-economies (Australia, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Myanmar, New Zealand, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, and Vietnam) who shared their ideas and analyses of current regional trends, as well as issues concerning the global economy.
The first session on “The Asia-Pacific Region: New Trends, Challenges, and Outlook” featured discussions on the present and future regional and global context and their implications to APEC’s realization of the Bogor goals and its post-2020 vision. The succeeding session, “Relevance and Dynamism for APEC in the New Context” tackled the forum’s position in the ever-changing regional architecture. The session on “Promoting Resilience, Sustainable, and Inclusive Growth among APEC Member Economies” focused on regional and global initiatives which substantially contribute to the attainment of sustainable development.
Speakers of the fourth session on “Promoting Human Resource Development and Technological Innovation in the Asia-Pacific Region” discussed the opportunities and challenges presented by the advent of digital economy. The integration of information and communication technologies (ICTs) into the global value and production chains, likewise, entails upgrading of workers’ education and skills. The succeeding session, “Deepening Regional Economic Integration – Ways Forward” heard views and insights on possible pathways for realizing regional integration efforts amid the growing skepticism towards globalization and rising protectionist tendencies. The session on “The Development of an APEC’s Labor Mobility Framework” talked about issues and concerns of APEC member-economies related to labor policy and mobility. Lastly, the session on “Enhancing Capacity and Competitiveness of MSMEs (micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises)” explored several avenues which would greatly help MSMEs in increasing their participation and competitiveness at regional and global levels.
Mr. Katigbak presented his paper “Pathways to Operationalizing the APEC MSME Marketplace: A Focus on Realizing Pillar 1 via Business-To-Business (B2B) E-Commerce” during the fourth session. He emphasized the potentials of integrating MSMEs into the global economy by tapping the B2B e-commerce industry, and called for the development of a robust online ecosystem in each member-economy, as well as at the regional level. For his part, Mr. Casaclang shared preliminary results of his study “Have APEC Economies Reached Economic Convergence?” during the fifth session. Looking at data for the period 1980-2014, he showed that there is evidence of convergence in terms of per capita gross domestic product between developing and developed economies in APEC.
The ASCC Conference is an annual forum for academics, experts, and practitioners from Asia-Pacific countries to exchange ideas on regional economic issues as well as discuss prospective collaboration among APEC Study Centers. The ASCC Conference 2017 was jointly organized by the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam and Vietnam’s National APEC Secretariat.