Jakarta: The year 2020 is crucial for APEC. Not only are we celebrating achievements after a quarter-century of implementing Bogor Goals of free and open trade, but we are at a crossroad; of conceding to major power rivalries or collaborating to overcome Covid-19 pandemic — together.
When Indonesia and other APEC Leaders proclaimed the Bogor Goals on 16 November 1994, it was with the hope of bringing together the aspirations of the people in both developing and developed Economies. It was launched to overcome the challenges at that time: Globalization. In those Goals, the target was set for 2020.
Since the inception of Bogor Goals, APEC Economies have enjoyed great progress in increasing trade and investment, while reducing poverty.
APEC’s total merchandise trade almost quintupled between 1994 and 2019 from USD 4.1 trillion to USD 19 trillion, with 6.7% average growth per year. There has also been a trend among APEC Economies to create a more favorable environment for investment and job creation. There was a declining poverty trend in APEC seen by the dropping number of poor people from 1.4 billion in 1994 to 240.4 million people in 2018.
Through their commitment to the Bogor Goals, APEC members recognize that the successful growth and development of their economy rely on the openness and stability of global and regional markets.
However, for the past couple of years some Economies have used APEC not as an engine of collective growth, but for projections of power and limited interest thus diverting the course of cooperation in APEC.
Instead of moving in unison to higher levels of regional economic cooperation and growth, diverging views have prevented deeper collaboration and sent an unclear message to the world. The increasing tension and strife between major Economies have run contrary to the spirit of APEC.
APEC needs to return to its raison-d’etre: as the premier Asia-Pacific forum of cooperation. It is imperative that it not only survives global challenges, it needs to lead the path of global recovery.
Through the first ever virtual AELM Chaired by Malaysia, building on the spirit of Bogor, APEC Leaders initiated a new vision into 2040. The Putrajaya Vision serves as the new compass for the next 20 years. It signifies a momentum to solidify strategic trust in achieving an open, dynamic, resilient, and peaceful Asia-Pacific Community by 2040, for the prosperity of the people.
As the premier forum in the Asia-Pacific, APEC must once again leap forward in development. Not just leap to overcome the pandemic. Nor to just to jump-start and accelerating economic growth after the waves of recession.
APEC must leap forward to established future new normal of regional growth, under the growing opportunity brought by a stronger multilateral trading system, better connectivity, the digital economy, and sustainable development. A world of quality growth where empowered Micro Small Medium Enterprises, women entrepreneurs, and hinterland economic actors would reap benefits from APEC interconnectedness.
As President Joko Widodo stated at the CEO Dialogue and the AELM, Indonesia continues to aspire for such a Quality Growth within APEC and will continue to push for win-win solutions, concrete deliveries, and mutually beneficial partnerships through this premier forum. And for its part, Indonesia shall contribute to a conducive economic environment through the launching of Omnibus law, as part of a necessary Structural Reform to create competitive industries.
This leap is crucial to empower Indonesia’s youth and millennials today, to be the leaders in 2040.
As time will bring us to the eventual achievement of the Putrajaya Vision, Indonesia plans to stand with its fellow Economies and its people to appreciate the shared prosperity that the vision has brought to the region.
With the benefit of hindsight, we hope to look back to the necessary strategic trust built the Asia-Pacific region today for our desired future, starting the vision from Bogor in 1994 and concluding Putrajaya in 2040.
*The writer is an official from Ministry of Foreign Affairs and has been involved in the APEC Process, Andre Omer Siregar.
Disclaimer: The view expressed in this article are his personal views and do not necessarily reflect the official position of any agency of Indonesian government.