Russia in APEC

ru_2012Russia has joined Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in 1998. Since 1999, it has regularly participated in annual APEC Economic Leaders’ Meetings (AELM).

Russian government officials take part, on a regular basis, in sectoral ministerial meetings (on trade and investment, finance, energy, small and medium enterprise, transport, science and technology, fisheries, agriculture, etc.) and events organized by relevant APEC fora. The Russian involvement in APEC-related  activities is coordinated by the relevant departments of the Ministry of Economic Development and other ministries.

Russia has been actively involved in APEC efforts in the field of human security, especially in counter-terrorism and disaster preparedness. APEC members welcome and support Russia’s initiatives on providing international information security, fighting cyber terrorism, improving protection of key energy infrastructure, expanding interaction in these areas with G20 and other international bodies.

In APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) Russia is represented by Oleg Deripaska (Basic Element), Andrei Kostin (JSC VTB Bank), and K. Dmitriev (Russian Fund for Direct Investment).

APEC Host Economy in 2012ru_1

In 2012 Russia was hosting APEC meetings for the first time since its accession in 1998. The Island Russkyi near Vladivostok was a venue for the 20th meeting of APEC Leaders.
Russia’s 2012 chairmanship APEC was aimed at promoting the integration of domestic economy into the system of economic ties in the Asia Pacific, carrying out modernization and innovation-driven economic development, primarily in Siberia and Russia’s Far East.
Considering the challenges facing the world economy at the time, the key objectives for APEC were tackling protectionism, moving towards the Bogor Goals and achieving high levels of trade and investment liberalization in the APEC region.

Russia outlined four priority areas for APEC’s work in 2012:

  • trade and investment liberalization, regional economic integration;
  • strengthening food security;
  • establishing reliable supply chains;
  • intensive cooperation to foster innovative growth.

ru_2As APEC chair, Russia intended to make an important contribution to achieving the forum’s objectives, including trade and investment liberalization, facilitating business, intensifying regional economic integration, and ensuring personal security. Russia also proposed to focus on such practical issues as bolstering food security and improving transport and logistics systems.

Russia considers the main elements of APEC’s work on food security to be achieving and maintaining physical and economic access to food products, ensuring international standards of quality and safety, promoting increased food production through the introduction of innovative technologies, and promptly identifying and preventing threats to agriculture, including those related to climate change and emergencies, whether natural or man-made. Russia also hoped to establish cooperation on order to protect and ensure rational use of the oceans’ biological resources.

ru_4Making commodities less costly and enhancing the reliability of their movement along the entire logistic chain, from producer to consumer, is a key factor in international trade. This involves forming economically viable and secure commodity supply chains, coordinating various types of transport, providing transport hubs and corridors with state-of-the-art information technology and satellite navigation systems, and harmonizing transportation security standards.

Cooperation on modernization is in the interests of all APEC member economies. First and foremost, this involves initiating the exchange of advanced know-how on how to shape a favorable institutional environment for innovative development and creating regional cooperation mechanisms in science, technology and innovation.

To access 2012 Leaders’ Declaration (Vladivostok Declaration – Integrate to Grow, Innovate to Prosper) and Annexes A-E please visit apec.org.

To access 2012 Ministerial Statement and Annexes A-E please visit apec.org.

Russia in APEC in 2017

The year 2017 was extremely fruitful for Russia’s participation in APEC. APEC economies approved Russian initiatives on the development of remote territories and cooperation in the field of innovation. Russian representatives took an active part in discussions on one of the key issues for APEC economies, including the development of digital economy and e-commerce, the formation of the Asia-Pacific Free Trade Agreement (FTAAP), and APEC’s post 2020 vision. Alongside with the abovementioned fields Russian delegates participated in the activities related to human resources, women and the economy, improvement of the competitive environment in the field of public procurement. Finally, in 2017, four Russian concept notes received funding. Among them:

  • Earthquakes and Waterfloods Monitoring System with the application of the Internet of Things (IoT) prepared by the Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications of the Russian Federation
  • Workshop on High Growth Innovative Firms (HGIFs) Acceleration prepared by the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation
  • Prospect Analysis for Sustainable Development of Tourism in Remote Areas of APEC Economies prepared by the Federal Agency for Tourism of the Russian Federation
  • IP Commerclialisation for SMEs prepared by the Federal Service for Intellectual Property

The implementation of the projects is planned for 2018.

Russian initiative on remote areas

In 2017 Russia presented a comprehensive initiative in the field of development and integration of remote areas in the APEC region. Until now, only some aspects of the development of such areas were considered within the APEC fora, including issues related to energy, health, telecommunications, combating the consequences of natural disasters and intellectual property. Russian initiative is designed to systematize this work and to ensure social and economic development of remote areas, as well as their integration into economy of a separate country as well as the entire Asia Pacific (APR). During the year, the initiative was supported by Japan, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Australia, the United States, Malaysia, Vietnam, China, as well as Papua New Guinea who is the host of APEC in 2018.

As part of the implementation of this initiative in August 2017 in Vietnam, the same-named dialogue was held with the participation of senior officials, government officials and the APEC economies’ expert community. As the result of the event, it was decided to prepare in 2018 the Outline principles for the development and economic integration of remote areas in the APR.

Digital economy and e-commerce

In 2017 Ad Hoc Steering Group on Internet Economy (AHSGIE) developed APEC Roadmap on Internet and Digital Economy. The importance of the Roadmap was highlighted in the Ministerial Statement and the APEC Leaders’ Declaration of 2017. In accordance with the list of instructions on the implementation of the Message of President of Russia to the Federal Assembly, the development of the Digital Economy is a priority for Russia. In this connection and taking into account the existing developments in this field, our country is the key co-author of the Roadmap.

Among the main issues addressed in the document:

  • development of digital and ICT infrastructure;
  • the formation of a comprehensive regulation of the Internet and the Digital Economy;
  • development of interoperability;
  • use of the latest technologies for inclusive development;
  • measures to ensure the principle of safety in the use of ICT technologies;
  • problem of secure data flows;
  • glossary and methodology for assessing Digital and Internet economy.

One of the most pressing issues in the document reconciliation process was finding a balance between the openness and security of the data.

Another important direction for Russian in APEC 2017 was the development of the APEC Cross-border E-commerce Facilitation Framework. Among the main areas of work listed in this document it is important to mention the following:

  • the formation of a coherent regulatory environment in the field of e-commerce in the region, taking into account interests of the business community;
  • strengthening the capacity of the IHR to increase their participation in cross-border electronic commerce;
  • strengthening the protection of confidential data;
  • simplification of paperless trade in the region;
  • consideration of cross-sectoral issues in the field of cross-border e-commerce.

The document became one of the annexes to the APEC Ministerial Statement 2017.

Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP)

Russia’s key priority in the framework of the FTAAP agenda is to involve the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) in the implementation of the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific. The EAEU as an evolving integration bloc with deep commitments meeting high international standards can become a source of best practices in the field of deep integration processes for the entire APEC region.

In August 2017, Russian representatives took part in the Dialogue of Senior officials on RTAs/FTAs. During the Dialogue, the annual report of the APEC Policy Support Unit (PSU) was presented on the latest trends in the regulatory provisions of trade agreements. The report examined 4 free trade agreements that entered into force in 2016, among which the agreement on the FTA between the EAEU and Vietnam was presented.

As part of the implementation of the Lima Declaration on FTAAP, approved in 2016, Russia expressed its interest in continuing the work on transparency, which it has been heading since 2012. Work in this area will include a review of existing APEC projects and initiatives; identification of areas where additional measures are required to increase transparency.

Innovations

In 2017, Russia presented two initiatives in the field of innovative development. The first one is aimed at developing cooperation between innovative clusters and APEC economies. Among its main components is the creation of an interactive platform for the development of intercluster cooperation – APEC cluster collaboration platform (“PEC — Platform for the Economies’ Clusters”) for the purpose of informing stakeholders about the available opportunities for cluster interaction, exchange of experience and best practices in the sphere of cluster support.

The second initiative seeks to achieve greater coherence among APEC economies’ policies in the field of forming new technology markets of the future. It is expected that the implementation of the initiative will allow to optimize the transfer of convergent technologies, protect intellectual property, ensure greater compatibility of existing national instruments for regulating new technological markets and increase the promotion of technologies to new markets.

Development of human resources

In the field of human resource development, cooperation in the field of education and labor protection remain one of the most pressing issues for Russia.

In September 2017, the Sixth APEC Conference on Cooperation in Higher Education (APEC CCHE) in the Asia Pacific was held on the Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU) site. The theme of the conference was the mutual recognition of diplomas and qualifications. More than 100 delegates took part in the event, including 48 foreign experts from 12 APEC economies.

In addition to the organization of the Conference, in 2017 Russia also actively participated in the preparation of the Action Plan for the APEC Education Strategy, approved in 2016 following the sixth meeting of the APEC Ministers of Education.

With regard to labor protection, in April 2017, the project “Building a Culture of Prevention on Occupational safety and health (OSH) in APEC Economies” was held in the format of the Seminar within the framework of the III Russian Health and Safety Week (April 10-14, Sochi). Co-sponsors of the event were Taiwan, South Korea and Vietnam.

At present Russia and Papua New Guinea are considering the possibility of organizing, within the framework of the IV Russian Health and Safety Week, one of the preparatory activities for the 7th APEC Ministerial Meeting responsible for human resources development. The meeting should take place in September 2018 in the capital of PNG in Port Moresby.

Women’s Entrepreneurship

In September 2017 on the margins of the forum “Women and Economy” Russia organized the second APEC BEST Awards contest. Contestants from 11 APEC economies (Russia, Vietnam, Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, Indonesia, Philippines, South Korea, Mexico, China and Chile) competed in 7 nominations.

The contest was included in the Joint Ministerial Statement of APEC economies. In 2018 APEC BEST Awards contest is scheduled to be held for the third time with the support of Papua New Guinea who is the host of APEC 2018.

Participation in the contest will allow Russian entrepreneurs to enter new markets, establish business contacts with potential business partners/investors and gain experience in preparing and protecting business projects for potential investors.

Economic reforms

In 2016, Russia put forward an initiative to improve the competitive environment in the field of public procurement in the economies of APEC. The goal of the initiative is to identify the most promising areas for cooperation within APEC, as well as to determine the format of such cooperation.

As part of this initiative, Economic Committee Policy dialogue on public procurement took place in February 2017 in Nha Trang, Vietnam. Participants of the Dialogue discussed various aspects of the development of public procurement institutions: methods, procedures, risk management, use of electronic technologies in public procurement. At present, Russia is working on concrete project proposals on the basis of the results of the abovementioned dialogue.

In addition to this, in August 2017, at a meeting of the Economic Committee Russia proposed to organize a dialogue on electronic public services. Russian initiative was supported by Taiwan and Vietnam. It is assumed that the dialogue will take place within the first EC meeting in 2018.

Also within the framework of APEC EC, Russia acts as a co-sponsor of Hong Kong and other economies project aimed at creation of an online platform for resolving B2B disputes for SMEs. Russia shares the opinion of APEC members that this platform can significantly reduce the costs of doing business for SMEs. At the same time, Russian side notes the importance of measures aimed at ensuring technological neutrality in choosing the current platform for the pilot project, and in terms of enforcement emphasizes the need to use existing international regulations.

APEC Post 2020 vision

In 2020, the Bogor goals, which determined priorities of the APEC, expire. In this regard APEC economies are currently facing the task of forming future comprehensive agenda. APEC Vision Group will be responsible for the preparation of this agenda.

As for the concrete proposals for the APEC agenda after 2020, Russia shares the view of the importance of addressing trade and investment liberalization issues. At the same time, Russia believes that APEC Post 2020 agenda should adequately reflect the issues of safe, balanced, sustainable, innovative and inclusive growth. These principles should become basis for the formation of the APEC Community in the future.

Another important issue for Russia related to the further work of APEC is the involvement of new observers in APEC, including EAEU, as well as the expansion of APEC participants by attracting APR economies that have not yet joined the forum. APEC should not create artificial barriers that isolate it from the outside world. As we mentioned earlier, Russia considers the possibility of attracting new observers to APEC, including organizations: a) sharing the main goals and principles of APEC work; b) located on or near the APR region; c) having APEC economies as one of its members.