New Zealand is chairing APEC in 2021 and Rachel Taulelei will the Chair of ABAC.  To do this effectively we need to:

1. Hear what business needs to be successful in the Asia Pacific 

ABAC NZ wants to hear the policy views of New Zealand business and to use these to shape ABAC’s recommendations to APEC. The three New Zealand Members will sit alongside counterparts from APEC’s 21 economies and speak directly to APEC’s Economic Leaders. The views advanced by New Zealand business will inform the perspectives communicated by the three New Zealand Members, and in that way, help advance the ABAC work programme.

2. Get ‘air time’ for Māori business

APEC is particularly relevant to the $50 billion Māori economy. Engaging Māori business with ABAC’s agenda will help make our work more relevant and responsive to Māori economic concerns and development aspirations.  Our hope is that improving the visibility of the Māori economy within ABAC will also help raise the visibility of indigenous people across the region.

3. Advance ABAC in a distinctively Kiwi way

Three broad themes have been developed to carry the business conversation in ABAC in a way that is both distinctive and relevant:

Tāngata, Taiao me te Taurikura (People, Place and Prosperity).

These themes provide an umbrella for more specific topics that ABAC NZ is developing for ABAC as a whole.

The following diagrams illustrate how ABAC NZ’s priorities as Chair will translate into the ABAC work programme carried out by ABAC’s five working groups in the areas of Regional Economic Integration, Sustainability, Inclusion, Digital and Economy.

ABAC NZ is keen to hear from NZ business sectors about their interests in the ABAC work programme in 2021.

ABAC Priorities for 2022

This year, ABAC has adopted the theme “Embrace. Engage. Enable.”

Embrace the reconnected world with endless opportunities.

Enable in collaborating on new ideas, creativities, and possibilities.

Engage digitised, sustainable, and inclusive new transformational models.

The 2022 work programme will focus on the following priorities:

Regional Economic Integration Working Group

  • Progressing pathway agreements towards the realization of FTAAP
  • Supporting the WTO and advocacy for the rules-based multilateral trading system
  • Strengthening services trade and investment
  • Reopening borders for safe and seamless travel

Digital Working Group

  • Establishing foundational digital infrastructure
  • Accelerating the adoption of digital tools for trade facilitation
  • Expanding vital physical infrastructure to expedite the digitalisation of the economy and advance digital inclusion

MSME and Inclusiveness Working Group

  • Promoting digital transformation of MSMEs
  • Enhancing inclusion through women’s economic empowerment
  • Promoting sustainable practices
  • Building MSMEs’ financial capacity

Sustainability Working Group

  • Building next zero economy and promoting green recovery in APEC
  • Fostering a sustainable food system
  • Advancing realistic energy transition towards low-carbon in APEC

Finance and Economics Working Group

  • Promoting speedy and sustained recovery
  • Developing a public-private partnership framework for pandemic risk transfer
  • Financing the transition to sustainability
  • Building an enabling ecosystem for digital finance

Detailed recommendations will be developed during the course of 2022 on the priorities identified in the work programme. ABAC’s recommendations will be conveyed to APEC governments through a range of avenues including to APEC Senior Officials, Trade SME and Finance Ministers and directly to APEC Economic Leaders at the annual Dialogue with APEC Leaders.

ABAC Priorities for 2023

The ABAC USA theme for 2023 is “Equity. Sustainability. Opportunity.”

The 2023 Work Program will have the following initial areas of focus:

 Economic Integration Working Group

  • Accelerating towards the realization of FTAAP
  • Supporting the WTO and advocacy for the rules-based multilateral trading system
  • Improving trade resilience
  • Trade and sustainability

 Sustainable Growth Working Group

  • Promoting an effective response to climate change and transition to a low-carbon economy
  • Advancing realistic energy transition towards low carbon in the region
  • Addressing efficient and sustainable processes across the food value chain in the region

 Digital and Innovation Working Group

  • Strengthening cybersecurity
  • Promoting coherent and interoperable digital identity systems
  • Facilitating cross-border data flows

 Finance Task Force

  • Facilitating cross-border digital financial services
  • Supporting just and affordable transition
  • Financing sustainable innovation
  • Promoting interoperable central bank digital currencies
  • Facilitating cross-border data flows in financial services

 Inclusion Task Force

  • Advancing women’s economic empowerment
  • Engaging indigenous people in the economy
  • Formalizing the informal economy
  • Bridging generations through economic engagement

Detailed recommendations will be developed during the course of the 2023 focus areas identified in the work program. ABAC’s recommendations will be conveyed to APEC governments through a range of avenues including to APEC Senior Officials, Trade, SME and Finance Ministers and directly to APEC Economic Leaders at the annual Dialogue with APEC Leaders. 


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