Remarks by Rachel Taulelei to APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade, 21 May 2022

by | May 23, 2022 | Trade In The News




21 MAY 2022




Chair, Ministers

The Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP) remains the preeminent economic priority for the Asia-Pacific business community.

It was an idea that ABAC first advocated 20 years ago.

If the case was strong then, it is compelling now, in the face of a grave economic outlook, an ongoing pandemic and looming climate change.

Rarely has the shared world-view that has supported our region’s development and prosperity felt more fragile.   

ABAC New Zealand strongly associates itself with the comments by the New Zealand Minister of Trade and Export Growth, and many others, regarding Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. 

The forces of entropy are threatening.  But this is a time to pull together, not apart.   We must work collaboratively for the common good, including through strengthening regional economic integration.

FTAAP should be our goal and destination, as Lam Yi Young has argued.  But we cannot neglect the journey.

We must not wait another 20 years to see the realisation of FTAAP.

We need to build up outcomes as we go.

First and foremost, we need to make progress on core trade and investment issues.  

We are calling on you to develop mechanisms to address the non-tariff measures that restrict and undermine trade, leveraging the Principles that Leaders agreed four years ago.   

We are asking you to prioritise work to keep supply chains functioning, by utilising the best digital technologies available.   

And we are urging a focus on strengthening interoperability in digital trade, including for cross-border data flows, foundational infrastructure like digital identities, and reducing digital services trade restrictions.

These goals all make good business sense.    But they are also a way to lessen the misery we all face from a global food security crisis, ongoing supply chain disruption, and rising inflation and cost of living impacts on our most vulnerable.

We are also facing an energy crisis. Let us turn that necessity into a virtue.   There is no better time than now to act on climate change – including by liberalising trade in environmental goods and services, and facilitating trade and investment in renewable energy.

Lastly, we cannot let the urgency of the challenges facing us blind us to the need to bring everyone along on this journey.  We need to equip women entrepreneurs, Indigenous businesses and small enterprises with the tools and skills to access the opportunities we will create for prosperity.


Kia ora.


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