HANOI -- The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies began their annual APEC forum in Vietnam's capital Hanoi on Sunday with the start of the Concluding Senior Officials' Meeting (CSOM).
The CSOM is the last of a series of Senior Officials Meetings (SOMs) held this year under the chair of Vietnam.
The following is brief introduction to APEC's SOM.
SOMs are held three to four times a year as tune-ups for the APEC ministerial meeting and economic leaders' meeting and are chaired by the host economy.
At the meeting, senior APEC officials make recommendations to ministers and implement their decisions. They also oversee and coordinate the budgets and working agendas of each APEC forum.
The SOM has four committees of trade and investment (CTI), economic issues (EC), budget and management (BMC) and economic technology sub-committee (ESC).
The CTI, founded in 1993, handles issues of liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment, centering especially on monitoring implementation of the collective action plan agreed in the Osaka Action Agenda of 1995.
Its work focuses primarily on tariffs, non-tariff measures, services, deregulation, dispute mediation, Uruguay Round implementation, investment, customs procedures, standards and conformance, mobility of business people, intellectual property rights, competition policy, government procurement and rules of origin.
The EC, established by APEC ministers in November 1994, concentrates on enhancing APEC's economic analysis.
The BMC, set up in 1993, advises APEC senior officials on budgetary, administrative and managerial issues. It makes recommendations on the budget structure, studies budget requests, drafts the annual APEC budget and examines all questions relating to the APEC budget.
The ESC was established in 1998 to assist the SOM in coordinating and managing APEC's economic technology agenda and to identify useful cooperative initiatives.