Established in 2016 and hosted by Economic Research Centre, Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Study Centre is commissioned by Hong Kong Trade and Industry Department for a 5-year research project of the APEC members with respect to 4 themes. The Centre frequently holds international conferences or seminars and invites reputable scholars and experts to discuss different APEC topics. The Centre expects its research results could further understand the potentials and success elements of APEC and contribute to providing more reliable data and information for policy formulation.
Improvement of Aviation Connectivity of APEC Member Economies
Aviation makes important contribution to an economy. For example, it contributed to about USD 1.28 trillion in APEC members’ GDP in 2012.1 Besides creating business opportunities, aviation connects people, businesses, governments, and different sectors of society and countries by trade, passenger traffic, tourism, cargo, information flow and communication.
Connectivity is also one of the major priorities of APEC. The APEC Connectivity Blueprint for 2015 to 2025 has been advanced in 2014, which highlighted three types of connectivity: physical connectivity, institutional connectivity and people to people connectivity. Aviation connectivity is related to physical connectivity, while aviation policy is related to institutional connectivity.
As an international aviation hub in the APEC region, Hong Kong can improve connectivity among APEC member economies, as well as catalyzing the economic development and economic integration of APEC member economies. The proposed ASC will work with the CUHK’s Aviation Policy and Research Centre, an experienced research centre on aviation-related studies, in the following proposed activities.
Development of MSMEs in APEC Member Economies
Micro Small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) account for 98% of firms and 50% of employment in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Government has a long history of providing supports to the development of SMEs. In 1960, the Hong Kong Government established the Hong Kong Export Credits Insurance Corporation, followed by the Trade Development Council and Hong Kong Productivity Council in 1966. These are statutory organizations providing financial, market information, technology and management services to SMEs.
Since 1997, the Hong Kong Government has established many specific schemes to support the development of SMEs in Hong Kong. Each of these schemes is designated to meet different business needs, such as guarantee for bank loans, sponsorship for export marketing activities, funding for SMEs’ development projects, and commercialization of innovation and technology projects. Recognizing the increasing economic importance of MSMEs, our proposed activities would provide valuable knowledge in assisting the government’s continuing MSMEs policy efforts.
Towards the Establishment of Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific
During the 13th APEC Economic Leaders’ meeting (2005), under the theme of “Towards One Community: Meeting the Challenge, Make the Change”, the Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP) had been discussed. The FTAAP aims at achieving free and open trade and investments in the Asia-Pacific region by 2020.2 However, the implementation of the FTAAP is far from a simple process. It requires APEC member economies to fully understand the operations of the FTAAP, and also the upsides and restrictions related to the stakeholders in the region.
Development of Human Capital in APEC Member Economies
Human capital is one of the most important factors for sustainable economic growth. Thus, human resources development has been identified as one of the APEC’s priorities in 2015. People-to-people connectivity, which includes cross-border movement of tourists, professionals and youth, is also emphasized in the APEC Connectivity Blueprint for 2015-2025. With the world-class tertiary education system, Hong Kong has the potential to develop herself into a regional education hub for APEC member economies. The hub could help strengthen human capital in the member economies through knowledge transfer and creating a peer learning environment.