The ministers from 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member countries convene in person in Bangkok for the first time since the year 2018 as the present economy battles inflation, inequality, soaring energy, and food prices, and climate change
The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) begins with the official task of promoting regional economic integration, discussing the measures for sustainable economic growth and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region. World leaders including Chinese President Xi Jinping, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, and French President Emmanuel Macron are some of the leaders attending the forum.
The ministers from 21 APEC member countries convene in person in Bangkok for the first time since the year 2018 as the present economy battles inflation, inequality, soaring energy, food prices, and climate change. The ministers will line up their ideas for the integration of Asia-Pacific investment and trade with the goal of having a sustained and inclusive recovery in an overly fluctuating world. Policy proposals were shared by representatives of the APEC Business Advisory Council and APEC’s official observers— the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council, the Pacific Island Forum, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
Deputy Prime Minister Don, during his opening remarks, states that the forum takes place during a crucial meeting point. “Our meeting today takes place at a pivotal juncture. The world is staring at hyperinflation married to the recession, broken supply chain and scarcities, climate calamities, as well as the precariously outdated mode of production that seriously needs recalibration in light of technological innovation. And making the matter worse, we see the increased cancel mentality that permeates every conversation and action, make any compromise appear impossible”, says the deputy prime minister.
The 2022 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Ministerial Meeting is co-chaired by Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Don Pramudwinai and Jurin Laksanawit, Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce.
The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum will be the final conference in a week of international meetings in Southeast Asia this week. The two-day forum will showcase APEC’s aim to build a dynamic and harmonious APAC community by pioneering open, free trade and investment along with accelerating a sustainable and favorable business environment. Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation ’s current edition is hosted by Thailand and emphasizes the potential of cooperation between its 21 member countries.
In the pre-summit event, Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha on hosting the APEC forum stated that the gathering of the world leaders and delegates would focus on new trade and investment narratives along with the need to reconnect travel, supply chains, and global sustainability agenda. The PM also urged the APEC leaders to advance further than post-pandemic recovery efforts and provide importance to building an inclusive and sustainable world.
“APEC must look beyond recovery from the pandemic and toward rejuvenating and revitalizing the environment to boost resilience and ensure a more inclusive and sustainable growth,” said the Prime Minister. Thailand, the host of the forum, will push for the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific. A meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation ministers has endorsed a proposal to progress with the regional trade pact which was first proposed in the year 2006 to liberalize tariffs and other obstacles to trade among other member countries.
Thailand sees the regional trade pact as an important step to disassembling needless tariffs and barriers and improving the competitiveness of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation economies along with a reduction in the trade gap and economic development.
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Thailand’s theme is ‘Open.Connect.Balance’ and under this, ministers from various APEC countries are swapping their views and ideas on the bio-circular-green (BCG) economy model and how it can assist the member countries with an inclusive and sustainable recovery along with having a longer-term growth. The Deputy Prime Minister further explained that environmental depletion, continuous innovations in the technological industry, and climate change along with the widening gap in inequality require the immediate attention of the APEC member economies to see what they could possibly do to make the conditions better and bring in more cooperation.
Ministers this year are more focused on advancing with the next steps to develop a ‘safe passage and build resistance’ and rejoin the region after the pandemic caused many economies to impose strict Covid restrictions on inter-country and cross-border travel. Ministers also reflected on measures to improve harmonization between their health policies to ascertain that travel in the region will remain safe and open in the face of future pandemics and other emergencies.