The first meeting of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC 2022) in 2022 has emphasized Digital Transformation, as the region experiences sudden and extreme changes in the business environment.
The APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) is the private-sector arm of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation. The main mandate of this council is to advise Leaders and other APEC officials on issues of interest to business. ABAC also responds to requests from various APEC sub-groups for information about the business perspective of specific areas of cooperation.
This private-sector body presents recommendations to APEC Leaders in an annual dialogue and advises APEC officials on business-sector priorities and concerns. ABAC meets four times per year, and ABAC representatives also attend senior officials’ meetings, the annual ministerial meeting and the sectoral ministerial meetings.
The meeting was chaired by Supant Mongkolsuthree, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), and ran from February 15-18 at the Resorts World Sentosa Convention Center in Singapore.
During the meeting, the Regional Economic Integration Working Group (REIWG) resolved to promote the works of the World Trade Organization (WTO) under the multilateral trading system. It also recommended the promotion of trade and investment in the region, along with the safe opening of borders in the post-pandemic era.
The Digital Working Group (DWG) meanwhile said it would promote digital infrastructure at the regional level in order to boost trade and improve competitiveness.
The MSME and Inclusiveness Working Group (MSMEWG) also said it favored promoting the development of a digital system for MSMEs, along with digital infrastructure for supply chain financing.
The Sustainability Working Group (SWG) meanwhile suggested that APEC focus on climate change and an environmental-friendly economic recovery by promoting alternative energy sources and food security.
Finally, the Finance and Economics Working Group (FEWG) recommended the development of public-private partnerships for pandemic risk financing. The aim would be to fund sustainable infrastructure projects in the region.
The working group also suggested that the bloc create a favorable environment for digital currency systems.