APEC must be a beacon of openness, inclusivity and innovation

by | Jul 31, 2017 | Trade In The News


Issued by the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC)

‘The APEC region as a beacon of openness, inclusivity and innovation’ is the aspiration of senior business leaders from around the Asia-Pacific, meeting in Toronto, Ontario, Canada this week to develop recommendations for APEC Economic Leaders on business priorities for the region ahead of their meeting in Viet Nam in November.

“Thanks to a strong rules-based world trading system and open markets, people today live significantly better lives than the generations that have gone before,” said the 2017 Chair of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), Mr Hoang Van Dung.

“Our long-term vision of a more open and integrated APEC region is not an end in itself. It is driven by our conviction that this will deliver sustainable and inclusive growth for our communities.”

Mr Hoang recalled that trade liberalization had lifted millions from poverty and held the potential to improve the lives of millions more. “Ambitious regional trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and the Pacific Alliance can generate jobs and keep food supplies secure. They help to future-proof trade and serve as important pathways to an eventual Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific, or FTAAP. We now need to take concrete steps towards making FTAAP a reality,” said Mr Hoang.

“The global economy continues to strengthen in recovery mode, including signs of improving trade flows. If we give in to the easy wins of protectionism, we risk a downward spiral of tit-for-tat retaliation, economic stagnation and hardship for our people,” Mr Hoang added.

Mr Hoang acknowledged that APEC Leaders would need courage and determination to press ahead, recalling that it was all too easy to blame trade liberalization for economic woes at home, even when other factors might play a much bigger role.

“In particular, domestic policies need to be designed to ensure that workers and economies can adapt quickly and successfully to the evolving environment and to enable the economic benefits to be more widely shared. ABAC has commissioned some important research on how we can collectively meet these challenges,” said Mr Hoang.

ABAC also recognized that the digital economy had the potential to transform the way that people lived, interacted and did business. “Jobs will increasingly demand different skills. Economies that invest in these skills and in access to digital technology will be best placed to take full advantage of new opportunities – and our communities will reap the benefits. Globally, we should also ensure that regulatory frameworks enable greater connectivity including data and information flows while also addressing important concerns such as privacy and data protection,” said Mr Hoang. But he sounded a note of caution about the risks of leaving behind the less advanced economies as the digital transformation took place. “Inclusivity must be the touchstone here, as elsewhere in APEC,” Mr Hoang said.

ABAC members also noted that economies could not grow without adequate capital market development, investment in infrastructure, and innovation. ABAC would be sharing that message separately with APEC Finance Ministers in October. “We should also seek to enhance the prosperity of the region by empowering micro, small and medium-sized enterprises to participate in trade and increasing economic opportunities for women,” concluded Mr Hoang.


Register to stay up to date with latest news, as well as saving and discussing articles you’re interested in.

Latest News


Perhaps a cyclone was after all a fitting backdrop for the meeting of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) which was held in Auckland on 12-14 February – the global environment against which the meeting took place is decidedly stormy.  In the event the wind...


As I write this end of year dispatch, NZIBF is preparing to host the first meeting for 2023 of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC).  We are looking forward to welcoming the 200 or so business leaders and senior officials from APEC member economies across the...

NZ Herald: Time to lift our game in India

Following his recent visit to India our Executive Director Stephen Jacobi penned this article advocating a more strategic approach to the further development of the relationship. The article was published by the NZ Herald on 9 December.

APEC Rolls out Priorities for 2023

Issued by the Informal Senior Officials’ Meeting - Honolulu, The United States, 13 December 2022 Aiming to provide tailwinds for member economies to strengthen recovery and resilience, as well as advance broad-based economic growth, the United States rolled out its...

NZIBF 2022 Chair Report

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 2022 CHAIR’S REPORT I am pleased to present my second report on the activities and achievements of the NZ International Business Forum (NZIBF) for 2022-23, our fifteenth year of operations.  At the outset I would like to thank Members for...


New Zealand business will be represented at the APEC Leaders’ Week in Bangkok, commencing 13 November, by members of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). New Zealand’s three members – Rachel Taulelei, Malcolm Johns and Anna Curzon – supported by Stephen Jacobi...

Submission to MFAT for CPTPP Review

30 September 2022 Phil Mellor Economic Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Wellington (By email) Dear Phil, Thank you for your email of 1 September, seeking our comments on the three year review of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans...