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Vice Foreign Minister Li Baodong Addressed the Opening of APEC 2014 First Senior Officials' Meeting

On 27 February, APEC opened its 2014 First Senior Officials' Meeting (SOM1) in Ningbo. Over 300 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 the meeting. The APEC 2014 SOM Chair, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Li Baodong chaired the meeting and made the opening remarks.

SOM Chair Li Baodong said that, APEC plays important roles in the world economy. As a strong engine for world economic growth, the Asia-Pacific region faces both a bright future and daunting challenges. APEC member economies must step up efforts on regional integration and work to build a closer partnership. Moving forward, APEC should seize the opportunities of development, make pioneering efforts, build more consensus on integration and development of the Asia-Pacific, and strive for new results and breakthroughs, thereby promoting sustained development, progress and prosperity of the region.

SOM1 in Ningbo is the first APEC event in China since it assumed host of APEC 2014. During the two-day event, SOM will discuss among other things issues under three priority areas: Advancing Regional Economic Integration; Promoting Innovative Development, Economic Reform and Growth; and Strengthening Comprehensive Connectivity and Infrastructure Development. Earlier, APEC committees, sub-committees, working groups, and expert groups, among others, have also held relevant meetings in Ningbo.

Established in 1989, APEC is an economic cooperation mechanism that is of the highest level, covers the widest fields, and is the most influential in the Asia-Pacific region. Since its establishment, APEC has continued to make progress in promoting regional trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, in promoting economic and technological cooperation, and in other fields, and has played an important and positive role in driving the global and regional economic growth.

The 22nd APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting will be held in Beijing in November. The theme of the meeting is "Shaping the Future through Asia-Pacific Partnership". Thirteen years ago, China hosted the 9th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in Shanghai.

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