As greater collaboration between the ASEAN Secretariat and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Secretariat would benefit the members of both regional organisations, the two Secretariats are to now embark on deepening their cooperation.

The desire for closer engagement was expressed by the heads of both Secretariats during a visit of the Singapore-based APEC Secretariat to the ASEAN Secretariat today.

“We agreed that the synergy between ASEAN and APEC opens a lot of opportunity for collaboration and cooperation. Clearly, there is scope for closer and meaningful engagement,” said the Secretary- General of ASEAN. The delegation from the APEC Secretariat was led by its Executive Director, Ambassador Michael Tay.

The ASEAN Secretariat, said Dr Surin Pitsuwan, welcomed the APEC Secretariat-ASEAN Secretariat closer cooperation initiative and looks forward to expanding the areas and method for cooperation in a manner that is mutually beneficial to the interests of ASEAN Member States and APEC Economies.

For a start, both sides have identified small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) development, disaster management, standards and conformance, trade facilitation, supply chain connectivity, health and project management as possible areas for collaboration. They also exchanged information and best practices particularly in the areas of private sector engagement, project management and implementation, and disaster management and emergency preparedness.

Dr. Surin also took the opportunity to inform the APEC Secretariat delegation of the steps undertaken by ASEAN and its Dialogue Partners to respond to the current global financial crisis. Ambassador Tay, on other hand, briefed the ASEAN Secretariat on the preparations being made for the APEC Leaders’ Week in November 2009.