Asia-Pacific business leaders in the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), meeting end April in Vancouver, affirmed their determination to continue to work closely together to respond to the challenge of sustaining the region’s growth trajectory in the face of an increasingly complex, interconnected and rapidly changing global environment.
ABAC Chair for 2022, Supant Mongkolsuthree, said that a series of grave challenges arising from the lingering effects of the pandemic and recent events that have caused disruptions to the global markets and supply chain—triggering inflationary pressures and threatening food security – have affected the Asia-Pacific region’s ability to achieve sustainable, inclusive and resilient growth.
“Responding to these challenges demands decisive, deliberate action, both to deepen the economic integration of our region and to better equip our businesses, including the smallest, to achieve dynamic and sustainable growth,” he said. “We will take the opportunity to convey our views on how this can be achieved to APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade who will be meeting next month.”
To deepen economic integration, ABAC has consistently advocated the eventual realization of a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP).
“We welcomed APEC’s initiative for a renewed dialogue on FTAAP,” the Chair said. “We will be proposing to ministers that APEC launch five multi-year joint work programs to develop tangible outcomes on identified business priorities including digitalization, inclusion, sustainability, trade and investment and trade response to the pandemic.”
“We also want to see a stronger, more relevant World Trade Organization (WTO) and we will call on APEC Ministers to work together to shape a 12th Ministerial Conference outcome that enables a strong, credible and relevant WTO, that provides a secure foundation for the rules-based multilateral trading system, responds effectively to the pandemic, fosters a robust return to growth, and reflects evolving business needs and models.”
“ABAC’s priorities have been and will continue to be focused on creating a more level playing field for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) who have been badly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” he added.
“It is also critical that MSMEs develop a long-term approach to embracing digitalization to enhance resilience and promote innovation and agility in the face of uncertain market demands and business environments.”
The Chair also said that ABAC supports the global agenda of sustainability, emphasizing “we must build a Net Zero Economy and promote green recovery pathways, including developing innovative tools for the transition to a low-carbon economy, drawing on our Climate Leadership Principles. We should also foster a sustainable food system that ensures food security and safety through the use of technologies and by reducing market distortions.”
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