Dodwell's blog on SOM1 Ningbo - Post 1

February 17, 2014

At last we have descended into the steel grey middle earth chill of Ningbo – home for the coming two weeks of the first set of APEC Senior Official meetings under China’s chairmanship.
The city, just south of Shanghai on China’s Pacific coast in Zhejiang, one of China’s richest provinces, and through 7000 years one of China’s most open and worldly centres, is still sufficiently locked in winter to be austerely monochrome. I’ve braved the cold to jog along the Fenghua river, and am pleased to say that the pollution that normally greets visitors to most Chinese cities is mercifully absent. But the air is grey, and the river is a wintry brown, and this lends a cheerless air.
Surprising then that for the last three years, Ningbo has been voted among China’s 10 happiest cities. With everyone muffled against the cold, this is difficult to see, but I take them at their word. Most of our meetings are at the opulent Shangri-la, and welcomes could not have been more enthusiastic, from the airport greeters to the volunteers toiling in the APEC engine room – the document centre.
Meetings have been in progress here since Friday last week, but with our ABAC meetings in Auckland all last week, the best we could do was get here Sunday. At least we have a fresh ABAC brief to bring to the many APEC working groups that will meet here for the next two weeks. We plunge first into the Business Mobility Group, which is responsible for working on improvements to our APEC Business Travel Card, to the Human Resources Development Working Group, which is locus for all of our labour mobility concerns. Later in the week we will turn to Food Security, Services and core ABAC issues like regional economic integration, supply chains, and global data standards. But that is to run ahead of ourselves. First things first – my next blog will be on outcomes from the Business Mobility Group. Talk soon…
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