APEC ministers pledge to implement Boracay Action Agenda

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 11) — Foreign ministers of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) promised to implement a Philippine-led initiative that aims to encourage the participation of small businesses in the global trade.

"We pledge to implement the Boracay Action Agenda to Globalize MSMEs (micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises)," the APEC ministers said in a joint statement released Saturday.

The Boracay Action Agenda received broad support from the 21 APEC member economies during their meeting in Boracay, Aklan in May 2015. 

The APEC member economies agreed to support measures on financing MSMEs and facilitate lending to them, ease documentation and business procedures, and streamline customs-related rules and regulations, among others.

The latest joint statement reiterated APEC's commitment to conduct a midterm review of the progress of economies implementing the action agenda in 2018, prior to the final review and reporting in 2020.

APEC ministers issued the statement following the APEC Ministerial Meeting in Da Nang, Vietnam, which set the stage for the APEC Economic Leader's Meeting on Saturday.

President Rodrigo Duterte is among the world leaders who participated in the APEC leaders' meetings.

During the APEC CEO Summit on Thursday, Duterte likewise called for business leaders to involve as many MSMEs in their supply and retail operations. He said said APEC "will only be relevant if prosperity is shared by all."

Read more: Duterte: APEC will only be relevant if prosperity is shared by all

APEC's joint ministerial statement centered on ways to achieve regional cooperation and growth, through deepening regional economic integration, promoting sustainable, innovative, and inclusive growth, strengthening MSMEs, and enhancing food security and sustainable agriculture.

APEC ministers also reiterated their commitment to fight corruption and crimes such as bribery and money laundering.

"We are committed to deny safe havens for corrupt officials and their proceeds of corruption. We also commit to working towards strengthened cooperation on extradition," the joint statement read.

The APEC ministers also vowed to cooperate to improve the region's counter-terrorism efforts.