Statement by Ambassador Choi Seok Young， Deputy Executive Director， APEC Secretariat at the Opening Ceremony of the High Level Symposium on E-Commerce and 1st APEC Business Alliance Forum
15 June 2004
Hon. Mr Liao Xiaoqui， Vice Minister of Commerce，
Hon. Mr. Wang Xinpei， Director General of Information Management Department，
Ladies and Gentleman，
I would like to extend my special thanks to Yantai Municipal Government for the kind invitation to participate in this Symposium.
This Symposium is a valuable opportunity to continue the fruitful dialogue on e-commerce between official government and business leaders. The public-private partnership is essential in creating the right environment to expanding e-commerce across the Asia Pacific region effectively.
I am grateful for the opportunity to be here today to give you an overview of APEC priorities for the 2004 year hosted by the Republic of Chile and to share with you the significance of what APEC is doing on e-commerce.
Since its beginning in 1989， APEC has strengthened regional links to promote and facilitate free trade and investment as well as economic and technical cooperation. Our common goal is to achieve liberalization by tearing off barriers and ultimately establishing a prosperous and secure Community.
This year alone， around 75 working level meetings and 10 sectoral Ministerial meetings have already taken place or are to be scheduled. All these activities are guided by the central theme of “One Community， Our Future”， which was chosen by Chile， host of this year.
With the overarching theme in mind， five priorities were identified to direct the ongoing APEC's activities： 1） APEC as a catalyst in the multilateral trading system； 2） Institutionalization of FTAs and RTAs in APEC； 3） Trade facilitation focused on trade and security； 4） Development of micro enterprises； 5） International financial architecture.
Over the last years， we have experienced dramatic changes in many areas as a result of the rapid process of globalization. The continuous technological advancement， especially in the area of e-commerce， has brought about tremendous opportunities to expand business， increase efficiency， improve the quality of life， and facilitate the greater participation of small business in global commerce.
However， the technological advancement has also brought potential threats for our societies such as widening the gap between the rich and the poor within and outside our economies.
It is therefore a daunting challenge to maximize the benefits accruing from globalization， while minimizing negative effects thereof. More specifically， we have to deal with， among others， issues such as information security， protection of intellectual property rights， deployment and penetration of broadband， data privacy， online consumer protection， spam problems， harmonization of data and law， authentication and standardization issues.
We have already identified several elements such as capacity building， good governance and efficient policy coordination that are conducive to a favorable environment for electronic commerce. Relevant works on these areas have being pursued in many other international fora including UNCITRAL， UNCTAD， OECD， WTO， WCO and WIPO.
APEC Leaders agreed in 1997 that e-commerce is one of the most important technological breakthroughs of this decade and directed Ministers to undertake a work program on e-commerce. Ministers recognized that the private sector should take the lead role as innovators and developers of this important medium， and the primary role of the public sector is to ensure a favorable regulatory environment for e-commerce to flourish.
Since then， APEC has been playing an active role in creating an environment conducive to the development of electronic commerce in the Asia-Pacific region.
I am happy to highlight some of key achievements and initiatives already taken to meet these goals： the Multilateral Information Technology Agreement （1997）； the E-Commerce Blueprint for Action （1998）； the Digital Divide Blueprint for Action； and， the e-APEC Strategy （2001）。
In addition， APEC is working to develop the APEC Data Privacy Framework， APEC Cyber Security Strategy to prevent the criminal misuse of communication networks， and Computer Emergency Response Teams （CERTs）。
Paperless trading initiatives have been underway to reduce or eliminate the requirement for paper documents for customs and other cross-border trade administration. The High Level Symposium on E-Commerce and Paperless Trading held in China in 2001 is one of these relevant initiatives that have contributed to advance the APEC work on this area.
I would like to conclude my presentation saying that APEC will continue playing an active role in creating an environment conducive to the development of electronic commerce in the Asia-Pacific region. This goal will only be possible with the strong commitment and cooperation of private and public sectors.
I am confident that this high level Symposium will give a vital impetus for strengthening dialogue and cooperation in the field of e-commerce， and contribute to the economic growth and prosperity for all economies across the Asia Pacific region.
Thank you for your attention.