Economic growth leads to rise in plastics consumption-APEC expert

Various experts for the APEC gathered in Washington to discuss this year's goals and priorities, in lieu of the APEC summit. Environment situation was amongst the key topics discussed.

APEC Philippines 2015, a symposium held October 30 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Centre, featured keynote addresses by US and Philippine Senior APEC Officials Matt Matthews and Laura Del Rosario, accompanied by in-depth panel discussions by APEC experts.

The forum was organised by the US-Philippines Society, in partnership with the US Chamber of Commerce, the Philippine Embassy, and the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Centre.

Ambassador Del Rosario traced APEC's evolution since the summit was last held in the Philippines in 1996 and identified "Building inclusive economies, Building a better world" as a major goal for this year.

DAS Matthew J. Matthews elaborated that inclusive economies promote a "fair shot for all on a level playing field."

Doris Magsaysay-Ho, Chair of the APEC Business Advisory Council, cited technology as a tool in levelling the playing field for SMEs, a priority in 2015.

Inclusive growth promotes the full participation of women in the economy, stressed Monica Whaley, President of the National Centre for APEC.

Rapid economic growth in APEC has led to an increase in consumption of plastics, with waste flowing into waterways and ultimately into the ocean, said Nick Mallos of Ocean Conservancy. In response, APEC is supporting environment-friendly initiatives in the waste management industry.

A cleaner environment translates to healthier workers, and "healthy workers are better workers," said Nancy S. Travis of the Advanced Medical Technology Association.

Education is another APEC priority. "Without improving education and addressing future needs, we cannot meet the challenges ahead," said Ambassador Del Rosario, adding, "Our children now are being trained for jobs that don't yet exist. We do not know what jobs of the future will look like so we have to train our people to learn how to be nimble, know how to connect the dots."

Ambassador Thomas Hubbard described the expanded importance of APEC over the past two decades, along with the dynamic growth of the Philippine economy. Other panelists were Commerce DAS John Andersen and USAID Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator Gloria Steele. Panels were moderated by APEC experts Tami Overby, Senior VP at the Chamber of Commerce, and Kate Clemans, Executive Vice President at Crowell and Moring.


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