Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Enhancing the G20-APEC Relationship for Advancing the Global Economy

Chen-Sheng Ho, Ph.D.
Research Fellow, TIER

       This year, 2016, will be an exceptional year for advancing international economic cooperation and Asia-Pacific regional economic integration, if the G20 and APEC work with each other to address pressing economic issues. In the era of globalization, characterized by robust connectivity, the deepening of collaboration between organizations at the international level and at the regional level is indispensable for achieving economic benefits.

        China is holding the presidency of the 2016 G20 and will host the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, China on September 4-5, 2016. The theme for this year is: “Building an Innovative, Invigorated, Interconnected and Inclusive World Economy.” According to the information provided in the official G20 Website (, an important message is that economic globalization has deepened in the world, so that cooperation is the most effective way for countries to mitigate challenges and realize common development (G20 2016).

        Moreover, the G20 Website has also indicated that the G20 should seek to tackle critical issues that affect the global economy and to achieve strong, sustainable and balanced growth. In addition, the main idea is that the world should strengthen global economic and financial governance, in order to fight inequality and imbalance in global development. Furthermore, it is necessary to ensure that people of all countries are able to equitably share benefits of economic growth (G20 2016).

        From analyzing the major messages that have been put forward regarding this year’s G20, it can be said that APEC should become an important partner of the G20. In 2016, Peru the APEC host, has chosen the theme of: “Quality Growth and Human Development.” The other priorities for APEC in 2016 are: 1) Advancing Regional Economic Integration and Quality Growth; 2) Enhancing the Regional Food Market; 3) Towards the Modernization of MSMEs in the Asia-Pacific; and 4) Developing Human Capital (APEC 2015).

        An examination of the 2016 priorities of the G20 and APEC shows similarities. For example, the G20 emphasizes an inclusive world economy. As for APEC, the main theme is about advancing quality growth and human development. The important unifying idea is the focus on inclusiveness. As a matter of fact, APEC has developed the 2015 APEC Strategy for Strengthening Quality Growth. APEC Leaders calls for APEC to work towards a balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative, and secure growth. In addition, according to The APEC Leaders’ Growth Strategy, inclusive growth is about ensuring that APEC citizens have the opportunity to benefit from global economic growth. Therefore, both the G20 and APEC are striving to promote balanced, sustainable and inclusive growth. With the existence of common issues for advancement, the G20 and APEC can cooperate through extending invitations to attend each other’s meetings.

        An excellent area for starting cooperation between the G20 and APEC can be the sharing of ideas relating to the issues being covered by the various ministerial meetings on specific sectors. It can be seen in Table 1 that both the G20 and APEC are holding several ministerial meetings. The sharing of ideas can start from the ministerial meetings because they provide policy direction. In addition, the ministerial meetings are high-profile events that attract substantial attention from the international media.

        Specifically, the initial focus can be on ministerial meetings that both the G20 and APEC will be holding this year. These ministerial meetings are in the following specific sectors: finance, tourism, agriculture, and trade. The main guiding principle is that the organization that is holding a ministerial meeting at an earlier date will provide the meeting’s main points and recommendations to the organization that will hold the meeting next. This means that the G20 will first provide the ministerial meeting summary report to APEC in the sectors consisting of finance, tourism, and agriculture.

        On the other hand, APEC can first furnish the summary report of the APEC Food Security Ministerial Meeting to G20. Certainly, both the G20 and APEC will all have each other’s ministerial meeting summary reports by the end of the year. Furthermore, the ministerial meeting summary reports that are available will also be provided to the G20 Summit and the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting (AELM). Since the G20 Summit (September 4-5, 2016) will be held before the AELM (November 19-20, 2016), the main points of the G20 Summit can serve as a reference for the AELM. In doing so, the linkage between the international level and the regional level is strengthened with the cooperation between the G20 and APEC.

        Once the G20-APEC relationship has been enhanced, both organizations can advance their collaboration to the working group level, as the G20 and APEC have established working groups to address economic and trade issues. According to the official G20 Website, it has stated that China will stimulate dialogues between the G20 and other international/regional organizations, such as the UN, Group of 77 and APEC. This is an excellent idea and this year is an opportune year to strengthen cooperation between the G20 and APEC to advance global economic development and prosperity.

 (Dr. Chen-Sheng Ho is a research fellow at the Chinese Taipei APEC Study Center.)

Table 1: 2016 G20 and APEC Ministerial Meetings on Specific Sectors

2016 G20

2016 APEC

l   Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting: Feb. 26-27; April 13-14; July 23-24; October 6

l   Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting: May 17-18

l   Tourism Ministers Meeting: May 20

l   Tourism Ministerial Meeting: May 28-29

l   Agriculture Ministers Meeting: June 3

l   Small and Medium Enterprises Ministerial Meeting: September 9

l   Energy Ministers Meeting: June 29-30

l   Food Security Ministerial Meeting: September 26-27

l   Trade Ministers Meeting: July 9-10

l   Education Ministerial Meeting: October 4-6

l   Labor and Employment Ministers Meeting: July 11-13

l   Finance Ministerial Meeting: October 14-15



G20. 2016. “G20 Summit 2016, China.”


APEC. 2015. “APEC Pursues Quality Growth and Human Development.”

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