Stay the course on globalization but make it work better, say Asia-Pacific business leaders

by | May 1, 2017 | Trade In The News


Issued by the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC)

Seoul, 28 April 2017 – “Stay the course on globalization, but make it work better” is the key message from senior Asia-Pacific business leaders gathered this week in Korea.

Members of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), meeting in Seoul to prepare recommendations on business priorities for APEC Trade Ministers in May, emphasized the tremendous benefits that more open trade has delivered for Asia-Pacific communities, lifting millions from poverty, enhancing productivity and generating dynamic growth in the region.

“By contrast, protectionism harms employment, food security and living standards,” said 2017 ABAC Chair Hoang Van Dung. “Leaders need strongly to resist the temptation to throw up the barriers to trade and investment.”

ABAC recognizes that relevant regional arrangements such as the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the Pacific Alliance, among others, can help us achieve the APEC Bogor Goals for free and open trade in the Asia Pacific.

“Economies in the Asia-Pacific are still open for business – and that’s great for our communities,” Mr Hoang added. “We encourage the TPP parties to implement the commitments of the TPP and preserve its high quality outcomes. We also call on the RCEP parties to complete the negotiations by the end of the year, ensuring that the agreement is comprehensive, high-quality and mutually beneficial.”

Mr Hoang noted that trade had been widely blamed for job losses and economic dislocation, but in fact technological change and other factors had played a much bigger role in most cases.

However ABAC also recognized the potential challenges as workers and businesses tried to adjust to new economic realities. “We need to do more to meet these challenges if we are to deliver on our vision of inclusive and sustainable growth,” Mr Hoang stressed.

“Government and business have unique and complementary roles in this effort. Together, we can and must do better at explaining the benefits of more open trade”, he declared.

“But this goes beyond just telling the story better. We must ensure that the benefits of globalization are more widely shared. Our communities also need well-designed domestic policies to help workers to adapt, be it through economic or structural reform, education and skills training or social safety nets.

The ABAC recommendations to Trade Ministers focus on the benefits of freeing up and growing services trade and reducing non-tariff barriers for goods. They also highlight the centrality of the WTO and the value of ambitious and comprehensive trade agreements, including an eventual Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific. In addition, ABAC notes that more robust supply chains will allow the huge potential of the digital economy to be more fully realized. Finally, ABAC emphasizes the need for inclusive policies to enable small businesses and women to participate more easily in global markets.

APEC Member Economies: Australia; Brunei Darussalam; Canada; Chile; China; Hong Kong, China; Indonesia; Japan; Korea; Malaysia; Mexico; New Zealand; Papua New Guinea; Peru; Philippines; Russia; Singapore; Chinese Taipei; Thailand; United States of America; and Viet Nam.

“These are challenging times for trade liberalization,” said Mr Hoang. “But we must neither abandon our core values nor the aspirations of the APEC economies. Now is the moment to take our courage in our hands and press ahead with regional economic integration. It is only by doing so that we will achieve a more stable, more inclusive, more peaceful and more prosperous global economy,” he concluded.


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...