Senior officials from 21 member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum have debated how to boost trade and infrastructure investment towards a closer regional connectivity.

During their fourth meeting in Bali, Indonesia on October 1-2, they voiced their support to Indonesia’s 20 initiatives relevant to their debates as well as the meeting’s theme “Resilient Asia-Pacific – engine of growth”, which will be tabled for discussion at the World Trade Organisation ministerial conference this December.

The initiatives touched upon regional role in the multilateral trade system, visions on connectivity in an evolving national and regional architecture, fair, sustainable growth, food security, water resources and energy.

The officials were unanimous on ways to push forward trade and services in the Asia-Pacific, the APEC and ASEAN regional connectivity, infrastructure and investment.

They agreed to assist each other in search and rescue operations, intensify cooperation in trans-boundary tertiary education, tourism and improve competitiveness of member economies.

The meeting is the last held this year in preparation for the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting scheduled for October 7-8 in Bali.

Founded in 1989 with a view to driving regional prosperity, APEC groups Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong (China), Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan (China), Thailand, US and Vietnam.

The region’s overseas direct investment surged to 10.6 billion USD in 2011 from 2.5 billion USD in 1994.-VNA