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Convergence at a distance
In Beijing, the next summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
One of the main intrigues of the APEC summit in Beijing was how the Presidents of Russia and the US will communicate and whether their dialogue will occur at all. As a result, the heads of state - Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama - have indeed talked several times, and, according to the world media, discussed all the key issues - Syria, Ukraine, and the problems of Russian-American relations.
During the summit, the dialogue between Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took place, during which the crisis in Ukraine was also discussed and a decision was made to carry out the previously deferred visit of the Russian president to Japan next year.
Another important point of the last meeting of the heads of the APR states was the rejection of protectionist measures against trade for the next four years following the summit. Meanwhile, this is not the first such decision of the summit participants - in fact, the extension of the commitments made in 2012 in Vladivostok (then the rejection of protectionism was decided to be implemented until the end of 2015). At the same time, it was decided to minimize the effect of measures of protectionist nature, undertaken in accordance with the recommendations of the WTO.
Organically linked to the above is another decision of the summit, referred to in the final declaration. It is about the organization’s concern that the implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, signed in the second half of 2013, is at an impasse. First of all, this affects not only the economic situation in the countries participating in the summit, but also the reputation of APEC itself. If it is impossible to implement the points of the agreement, the confidence in the summit as a platform for negotiations and collective decisions will decrease. There is no need to talk about the final undermining, but the relations between APEC and the WTO are not easy, and such events will not positively affect them. In this regard, it was decided by all possible means to find a way out of the situation: "we are united in our intention to strengthen ... an open and comprehensive multilateral system, as provided for by the WTO rules." Interestingly, the main purpose of the agreement is a general increase in global GDP by 4.7% primarily due to the intensive development of small businesses and small enterprises. The goal is certainly ambitious, but at the same time it seems far from reality. However, concrete steps have already been taken - it was decided to create a system of transparent and secure financial services aimed specifically at the small business sector (along with the average).
There was also a direction directly related to the strengthening of mutual relations, the promotion of the development of the so-called "Internet economy". A special steering group has been created for this purpose. Its goal is to create all conditions for the favorable functioning of this sphere. This is directly related to the promotion of small business development, since a significant percentage of such business projects are carried out on the Internet.
At the APEC summit, attention was also paid to the issue of combating Ebola. It was decided to actively interact with African countries and with all the forces to counteract the further spread of the epidemic.
Summing up, it can be said with confidence that at the APEC summit very topical and important issues were raised, and the action program looks up to the demands of modern times and is generally very realistic, although some goals look too ambitious. It is also important that the summit became a platform not only for negotiations on the region, but also on more global issues. Given the status of the participating states, this trend should continue in the future.