APEC First Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM1) and Related Meetings 14 – 25 February 2022
As the host of APEC 2022, Thailand will kick off the first set of meetings this year to roll out the discussion on the theme and priorities and how to best achieve key deliverables throughout the year. The first APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM1) and related meetings will be held, fully virtually, on 14 – 25 February 2022. More than 30 working group meetings and seminars will be held throughout this period, covering a range of issues from trade and investment to connectivity, digitalization, food security, health, environment and sustainable development. The outcomes of the discussion at the working group level will be reported to the Senior Officials’ Meeting, which will take place on 24 – 25 February 2022.
APEC Senior Officials’ Meetings are one of the key mechanisms driving APEC’s work. Four Senior Officials’ Meetings will be organized throughout the year and conclusions from these meetings will form part of the outcomes of the Ministerial Meetings and reflected in APEC Leaders’ Document at the end of the year. The first APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM1) will consist of 19 sub fora meetings under all four APEC’s Committees as well as policy dialogues and meetings organised by Thailand to advance the priorities of Thailand’s host year. In addition, recommendations from the APEC Business Advisory Council will also be deliberated at these meetings to ensure that APEC’s mechanism also incorporates and responds to needs of the business sector.
Thailand, as APEC 2022 host, aims to move forwards its priorities and key deliverables, under the theme “OPEN. CONNECT. BALANCE.” by initiating discussions on the following priority areas:
1. [Open] – A refreshed conversation on the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) through post-COVID lens will be initiated. These efforts will contribute to shaping FTAAP into a trade agreement that fosters sustainable business models and incorporates emerging trade issues such as health, environment and digitalization.
2. [Connect] – The newly established “Safe Passage Task Force” will convene its first meeting on 21 February 2022 to discuss ways to achieve safe and seamless resumption of cross-border travel in APEC. Emphasis will be given to facilitating cross-border mobility through measures such as the exchange of Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) among the APEC economies, the establishment of APEC Portal for Safe Passage and broadening the scheme of the APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC).
3. [Balance] – Thailand will host a Policy Dialogue on Promoting BCG Economy on 22 February 2022 for APEC economies to share their experiences in implementing the BCG approach, focusing on three key areas including agriculture and food system, energy, and resources management, and to explore how BCG can be mainstreamed into APEC’s work to drive the region towards sustainable development.
Overall, the people and businesses of the region can expect to benefit from APEC 2022’s agenda in terms of safer and more convenient cross-border travels, enhanced digital connectivity, a more conducive and enabling economic environment for greener businesses and greater opportunities that include and empower MSMEs and other groups with untapped economic potential. The first APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting is the first step on the ladder towards the key deliverables of APEC Thailand 2022 which Thailand will work together with member economies throughout the year.