The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum is setting growth pattern changing as its top priority, said Secretariat’s Executive Director Alan Bollard.

Dr. Bollard made the statement when delivering a keynote speech at the Asian Financial Forum in Hong Kong (China) on January 13.

He said the assessment comes as APEC member economies are now seeing a shift toward domestic demand-driven growth and an increase in services trade as opposed to predominantly trade-driven growth that focused on manufactured and processed goods that occurred in the region over the last three decades.

According to him, the changing is now greatly affecting the trade and investment activities in member states, as well as intra-APEC trade.

These changing growth patterns, coupled with the increasingly complex way goods and services move across borders, from e-commerce to value-added supply chains, as well as stronger globalisation are impacting the economic environment and the way APEC addresses cross-border trade, he added.

In response to these changes, APEC’s Supply Chain Connectivity initiative streamlines border regulations so supplier components can seamlessly move across regional boundaries.

To uphold the competitive advantage in cross-border exchanges, APEC members are working towards reducing the red tape and heavy policing through single window, harmonised, and contracted operations.

However, as borders become more open, criminal and illegal movements can take advantage. As a result, APEC is working on new technologies and international arrangements to help establish the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), he noted.-VNA