Conclusion of the Third APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting
The Third APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM3) and Related Meetings in Chiang Mai concluded today. Substantive progress was made towards sustainable and inclusive economic recovery from COVID-19, under APEC2022’s theme of “Open. Connect. Balance.”, with the Bio-Circular-Green (BCG) Economy Model as the overarching thinking.
Over the past 16 days, APEC senior officials, delegates and experts gathered in 67 meetings to work towards realising APEC 2022’s priorities to promote free and open trade and investment for inclusive opportunities, reconnect the region through safe and seamless cross-border travel, and promote sustainable economic growth. In addition, four sectoral APEC Ministerial Meetings were also held during this period, including tourism, forestry, health, and food security. Key developments and achievements are as follows:
Open trade and investment opportunities for all SOM3 continued the refreshed conversation on the Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP) in the post-COVID-19 context. Building on the successful outcome of the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT) Meeting in May 2022, APEC experts started developing the FTAAP multi-year work plan, based on the 3 economic drivers of the Putrajaya Vision 2040, namely Trade and Investment; Innovation and Digitalisation; and Strong, Balanced, Secure, Sustainable and Inclusive Growth. Experts will continue the discussion and report to the APEC Ministerial Meeting in November.
Reconnecting the region through safe and seamless cross-border travel APEC2022 has taken many important steps to reconnect the region safely and seamlessly, especially through the Safe Passage Taskforce (SPTF). The Third and final meeting of the SPTF convened during SOM, where key discussions included the implementation of safe passage proposals endorsed during SOM2. These include Thailand’s initiative to create an APEC travel information portal, which is set to launch in September 2022. The meeting also discussed ongoing initiatives, such as a more inclusive APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC). With its mandate coming to an end, the SPTF highlighted the importance of having a mechanism to carry out APEC’s safe passage coordination work, to continue addressing ongoing challenges and create long-term resilience.
Promoting an inclusive, balanced, and sustainable growth SOM3 highlighted the importance of the whole-of-society approach. A Roundtable discussion was held on the margins of SOM3 bringing together key stakeholders from the government, private sector, financial sector, academia, and youth to share their success stories and best practices in forging a partnership and transforming their businesses on a sustainable path. SOM3 also advanced the discussion on the Bangkok Goals on BCG Economy. A dedicated session was held for economies to comment on the revised draft Bangkok Goals. The draft will be further revised before it is submitted for endorsement by APEC Leaders in November.
The four sectoral Ministerial Meetings in tourism, forestry, health and food security also highlighted the BCG Economy Model as an approach that can help promote sustainable economic recovery. This includes (1) rebuilding the region’s tourism industry with the regenerative tourism concept to promote a more inclusive and sustainable tourism policy that also conserves biodiversity and cultural diversity, (2) promoting sustainable forest management with the use of technology and innovations to create value and sustainable businesses that contribute to local community development and climate change prevention, (3) balancing health and economic policies to prepare for future pandemics and other health threats, including through enhancing investments in health security, and (4) transforming agri-food system in a sustainable manner that ensures viable livelihood of smallholders and MSMEs, in alignment with the global efforts towards the 2030 Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of ending hunger.
The Third APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting and Related Meetings have made significant progress towards achieving Thailand’s key deliverables leading up to the upcoming APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Bangkok on 18-19 November 2022.