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APEC SOM2 Discusses Harnessing Future Digital Manpower and Unlocking the Future of Digital Society and Economy

The APEC Second Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM2) and related meetings continue discussions key to advancing Thailand’s APEC host year priorities under the theme “Open. Connect. Balance.” During 9-14 May 2022, Thailand is hosting the 64th APEC Telecommunications and Information Working Group Meeting (TELWG 64) at the Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok. APEC delegates and subject matter experts are discussing how APEC can best harness digital manpower in the Next Normal and unlock the future of digital society through the sharing of emerging telecommunication technology experiences and enhancing trust and cyber security for the digital economy prosperity of the Asia-Pacific Region.  


The APEC TELWG works to advance the development of information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure and promote cooperation and the development of effective ICT policies and regulations in the Asia-Pacific region. Its key objectives are to narrow the digital divide and enhance social and economic development through effective use of ICT, secure and trusted ICT environment and collaboration with the business community.


TELWG64 consists of a Plenary Session and 3 Steering Groups meetings, namely Liberalisation Steering Group (LSG), ICT Development Steering Group (DSG) and Security and Prosperity Steering Group (SPSG). At the plenary meeting on 10 May 2022, Mr. Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn, Thailand’s Minister of Digital Economy and Society highlighted Thailand’s commitment to promote digital society and economy. Several roundtable meetings were also organised on the same day to discuss topics under the three steering groups including (1) the Future of Digital Manpower in the Next Normal, (2) Sharing the Emerging Telecommunication Technology Experiences to Unlock the Future of Digital Society and (3) Enhancing Trust and Security for APEC Digital Economy Prosperity. Participants included representatives from both public and private institutions, international organisations as well as academia and leading businesses in the region.


The TELWG supports APEC’s efforts in realising the APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040 in the field of Innovation and Digitalisation. APEC’s work is based on the APEC Internet and Digital Economy Roadmap (AIDER), which is a living roadmap that aims to promote digital economy amidst the uncertainty of the global economy. The TELWG64 and the Roundtables organised during the APEC SOM2 are vital to driving forward Thailand’s APEC host year objectives of charting the region’s post-COVID-19 economic recovery towards an inclusive and sustainable growth. Telecommunication technology and digitalisation are also key to achieving these goals through the promotion of the digital economy in the region that benefits all parts of society. These issues will be part of the discussion on the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) in the post-COVID context at the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT) Meeting on 21-22 May 2022 in Bangkok.