Dodwell in SOM 2 Meetings at Kazan - Post 9

June 05, 2012


Our Ministers have all now made fine-sounding commitments in Kazan to liberalizing trade and investment in the region, but their statements lack the satisfying specificity of APEC’s Senior Official Working Group meetings. I presume once everyone gets back to their capitals and compares notes, some sensible, specific suggestions will emerge, but at this point it is not clear what they will be. It is now that the truncated nature of Russia’s APEC year leaves us with a long and awkward hiatus: Ministers and Senior officials will all obviously be working on their input to the Vladivostok Leaders’ Meeting in September, but for most of the fifty odd APEC working groups, there are now no meetings planned until February next year. (We have a mini-cluster of meetings in St Petersburg at the end of June, including Energy, Health and Womens’ Ministerials, but nothing on the economic, trade and investment issues that are core to APEC and ABAC alike).

My sense is that ABAC Members will need to identify a number of key priority initiatives to formulate and take forward from our ABAC3 meeting in Ho Chi Minh City in mid-July. We might also do well to encourage next year’s Indonesian hosts to kick off the year early –  bringing forward the “iSOM” meeting normally held each December to prepare priorities for 2013, and perhaps even by arranging a “mini-cluster” of meetings around the “iSOM”. They might also think about pulling the first APEC senior officials cluster forward into January. I wonder whether Chinese New Year would allow that?

While Ministers wrap up in Kazan, I have swept away, exhausted and much in need of a rest before the Beijing CEO Forum begins on Thursday. I’m going to hole up in Istanbul for a couple of days – my first time there, but strikes me it is a mellow location to recover, recharge batteries, and perhaps buy some interesting gifts for long-suffering family. I expect to get into Beijing late on Wednesday, but promise to resume the blog for the days of the CEO Forum – Thursday and Friday.

* Read Dodwell's latest blog post from Kazan.


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