|APEC 2014 First Senior Officials' Meeting (SOM1) Held in Ningbo|
On 27-28 February, APEC held in the Chinese city Ningbo, Zhejiang Province its First Senior Officials' Meeting of 2014. Earlier, APEC committees, sub-committees, working groups, and expert groups, among others, have also held relevant meetings in Ningbo. Over 1800 delegates representing 21 APEC member economies, APEC Secretariat, APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC), and Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) participated in SOM1 and Related Meetings.
As the first APEC event in China since it assumed host of APEC 2014, SOM1 is a part of a series of events that will lead to the 22nd APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting on 10-11 November 2014 in Beijing. Senior Officials acknowledged that the Asia-Pacific region, against the backdrop of weak world economic growth, is faced with both opportunities and challenges. Senior Officials expressed hopes for APEC to play a stronger leadership role and to produce fruitful results in this year's AELM (APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting).
SOM has held in-depth discussions on issues under three priority areas: Advancing Regional Economic Integration; Promoting Innovative Development, Economic Reform and Growth; and Strengthening Comprehensive Connectivity and Infrastructure Development. SOM has gathered more consensus on accelerating the facilitation of the FTAAP (Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific) process, promoting growth through innovative development and economic reform, and developing APEC Blueprint on Connectivity, and has adopted a series of work plans.
China has attached great importance to this meeting. The APEC 2014 SOM Chair, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Li Baodong chaired the meeting and made the opening remarks. Chinese Assistant Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen also attended the meeting. Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Commerce have submitted to SOM1 multiple cooperation proposals and initiatives. Meeting participants have expressed appreciation for the constructive role China has played in deepening cooperation, growing consensus, and promoting the long-term development of the region.
A Welcome Gala Dinner was hosted jointly by Zhejiang Provincial Government and Ningbo Municipal Government during SOM1. Delegates were deeply impressed with the age-old history, rich culture and dynamic economy of Ningbo, which has showcased the bright prospect of China's development.
As the host for APEC 2014, China will continue to host a number of APEC events this year. SOM2 (Second Senior Officials' Meeting) and Related Meetings will be held in Qingdao, Shandong Province on 5-15 May 2014.