APEC Second Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM2) and Related Meetings, 9 – 19 May 2022, Bangkok
Thailand’s APEC host year is steaming ahead as Thailand prepares to host the APEC Second Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM2) and related meetings in physical format on 9-19 May 2022 in Bangkok, to continue driving APEC 2022’s priorities under the theme of “Open. Connect. Balance.” forward. The key focus still remains on navigating the Asia-Pacific region through post-COVID-19 economic recovery that ensures open and dynamic trade and investment, safe and seamless cross-border connectivity and sustainable economic growth based on the BCG Economy model, while also seeking to address new economic disruptions faced by the region and globally.
The SOM2 meeting cluster, which will be held at the Shangri-La Hotel, will consist of over 20 meetings, ranging from the working group discussions on issues such as human resource development, bridging digital divide and automotive industry development, to APEC senior officials’ meetings where APEC 2022’s key deliverables will be deliberated. Over 250 APEC delegates are expected to join the meetings in Bangkok while over 200 will participate online. The 11-day meetings will see APEC delegates work together to further advance the three key objectives which Thailand has set out to achieve when taking on the role of APEC 2022 host in November 2021, as follows:
1. A refreshed conversation on the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) to bring new momentum to the FTAAP agenda in the post-COVID-19 context. The goal of this endeavour is to lay a groundwork for the region’s future free trade agreement that is responsive and capable of addressing emerging issues in the rapidly changing world, which will help foster dynamic, resilient and more inclusive trade and investment in the region. SOM2 will pave the way for APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT) Meeting and the MRT Public Private Dialogue with the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), to be held back-to-back with SOM2 on 21-22 May 2022 at the Centara Grand Hotel, Bangkok. The outcome document from the MRT meeting will be the first key deliverable achieved under Thailand’s APEC host year.
2. Reconnecting the region safely and seamlessly Thailand will lead the discussion to put in place an APEC one-stop travel information portal and the interoperability between economies’ vaccination certification verification systems through the sharing of technical specifications, with the aim for both systems to start operating by August 2022. The second APEC Safe Passage Taskforce will be convened during SOM2 where one of the objectives will be to submit these proposals for SOM and MRT’s endorsement. In addition, the Safe Passage Taskforce will continue to push forward the proposal to expand the scope of APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC) to cover a broader range of businesses such as MSMEs and mid-level managers.
3.To accelerate APEC’s work on sustainability through the BCG Economy concept Thailand will continue its work towards the “Bangkok Goals on BCG Economy”, a stand-alone leaders’ document which is to be endorsed at the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Bangkok in November 2022. During SOM2, the Bangkok Goals on BCG Economy Dedicated Session will be held to discuss the draft of the proposed Bangkok Goals, which contains a set of goals and enablers including goals on climate change mitigation and adaptation, sustainable trade and investment, sustainable management of resources and waste management.
Thailand has been steering APEC 2022 halfway through our host year. SOM2 is an important opportunity to take stock of progress made and drive forward the host year’s priorities towards achieving key deliverables at the end of the year. Taking into account the new set of unexpected economic disruptions including hyperinflation, rising food and energy prices and a new round of supply chain disruptions, the discussion at SOM2 will also seek to address these new challenges, in addition to post-pandemic economic recovery, to ensure that Thailand’s APEC host year delivers outcomes that are dynamic, relevant and truly beneficial to both the Thai and APEC economies.