Marking an official commencement of the APEC Business Advisory Council 2022 (ABAC 2022) under Thailand's chairmanship, Asia-Pacific business leaders joined hands to affirm their commitment to over 4.3 billion regional population and express their determination to collaborate under five strategic working pillars, namely Regional Economic Integration, Digitalization, MSMEs and Inclusiveness, Sustainability, and Finance and Economics, which are believed to be critical in propelling the future of the region's businesses and economies.
Consisting of 63 members appointed by the leaders of each economic zone (three members per economic zone from 21 economies of Asia-Pacific), the APEC Business Advisory Council gathers every year at four council meetings and one APEC CEO Summit with a mission to discuss business perspectives and economic issues in order to finalize a set of recommendations to be presented to the APEC economic leaders in an annual dialogue.
Leading 2022 regional business council meetings under Thailand's chairmanship is Khun Supant Mongkolsuthree, the appointed APEC Business Advisory Council Chairman for 2022. Guided by the concept "EMBRACE ENGAGE ENABLE", the APEC Business Advisory Council 2022 is poised to seize the opportunity for business leaders to have a face-to-face meeting for the first time since the pandemic. It is a momentous event and considered a great moment for Thailand to proudly showcase its strategic capabilities, unique strengths, and incomparable charms, as the country takes a pivotal role in developing new ideas to unlock the region's potential, especially during this time of global economic changes.
According to ABAC Chairman for 2022, Mr. Supant Mongkolsuthree, "As a collective force representing the leading growth drivers from 21 economies of the region, the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) is committed to upholding not only our own respective businesses but also the business of those people for whom our businesses exist. Having been at the receiving end of serious challenges brought about by the global pandemic and other events that affected business operations worldwide, the people's lifestyle, and the sustainable, inclusive and resilient growth of Asia-Pacific, we consider it as opportune time that we work together to draft key recommendations that truly represent the voice of the people to the APEC economic leaders in an annual dialogue towards 2022 year-end."
In 2022, the first and second APEC Business Advisory Council meetings took place in Singapore during February 15-18, 2022, and in Vancouver, Canada during April 25-28, 2022 respectively. The third meeting will happen in July 26-29, 2022 in Vietnam. The fourth meeting will take place on November 13-16 in Bangkok, Thailand. The Chair economy will also host APEC CEO Summit 2022 on November 16-18.
"Thailand previously hosted the APEC CEO Summit in 2003. This year, the summit will be held onsite for the first time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the theme "EMBRACE ENGAGE ENABLE", Thailand is ready to welcome APEC leaders from the world's most dynamic economies, speakers from the world's top companies, and over 1,500 CEOs from across the Asia-Pacific region. The program will feature two days of discussions, presentations and dialogues on a wide range of issues that will promote balanced, sustainable and inclusive economic growth," stated APEC CEO Summit 2022 Chair and ABAC Thailand Member Dr. Poj Aramwattananont.
In forging the 21 economies ahead, the members of the APEC Business Advisory Council 2022, under Thailand's chairmanship, work together under five working groups guided by five strategic frameworks to enable stronger regional economic integration, elevated digital capabilities, better equipped businesses of all sizes, advanced sustainability practices, and resilient financial ecosystem throughout interconnected Asia-Pacific communities. Through rounds of meeting, each working group contributes key developments critical to drafting best community-centric recommendations for APEC economic leaders in 2022 year-end.
The latest progress updates of the working programs under the five pillars were discussed at its 2nd meeting in Canada. From this meeting round, eight recommendations are to be presented to the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade on May 21-22, 2022. Recommendations to deepen economic integration in the region, are 1) Building preparedness against future pandemic shocks; (2) Realizing the path to Free Trade Agreement in the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP); (3) Supporting the WTO and advocacy for the rules-based multilateral trading system; (4) Strengthening services trade; (5) Reopening borders for safe and seamless travel. Recommendations to equip businesses for sustainable, dynamic and inclusive growth; (6) Addressing climate change, food and energy security through trade; (7) Advancing digital governance; and (8) Enhancing MSME participation in international markets.
Three out of the eight topics to be presented to the Ministers Responsible for Trade meeting are considered of prime importance: food security, digitalization, and FTAAP.
"The critical challenges that we are facing remind us of the importance of energy and food security. It is imperative to make rapid progress towards achieving carbon neutrality and sustainable, productive and undisturbed food supplies especially in a time of rising energy and food prices," said APEC CEO Summit 2022 Chair and ABAC Thailand Member Dr. Poj Aramwattananont.
Meanwhile, ABAC Thailand Member Mr. Kobsak Duangdee said that "Our rapidly digitalizing economy is dependent on smooth, secure, trusted, interoperable and inclusive cross border e-commerce/digital trade. To remain globally competitive, we must advance cyber security and improve our data infrastructure."
"In the perspective of APEC Business Advisory Council, FTAAP has never been more critical. Being the foundation for the Putrajaya Vision 2040, FTAAP will bring sustainable and inclusive growth and prosperity to all economies in the region, as well improving the standard of living of the people", said ABAC Alternative Thailand Member Mr. Montri Mahapreukpong.
As head of the APEC Business Advisory Council 2022, ABAC Chairman for 2022, Mr. Supant Mongkolsuthree shared that "Being both Chairman and a man devoted to seeing the success of this important journey, I am committed to driving collaborative engagements and enabling real economic changes in the Asia-Pacific region. Moreover, Thailand as a host economy commits to do our utmost to prove that we, as your appointed Chair economy, are capable of realizing the best community-centric recommendations that will bring sustainable benefits to us all."