The First APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM1) drives APEC Thailand 2022’s priorities to promote an Open, Connected and Balanced Economy 24-25 February 2022
Thailand is hosting APEC 2022 as the world continues to live with and adapt to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This presents
both opportunities and urgent tasks for Thailand, as APEC host, to accomplish, including deepening regional economic integration, taking into account new and emerging challenges in the changing landscape; reconnecting the region to restart economic recovery; and promoting post-COVID-19 economic growth that is inclusive, sustainable and balanced. These are the three key priorities
for APEC 2022 that Thailand is driving forward, under the theme “Open. Connect. Balance.”
The First APEC First Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM1), which took place from 14-25 February 2022, concluded today. The Plenary Meeting on 24-25 February 2022 was chaired by Mr. Thani Thongphakdi, Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs and APEC 2022 SOM Chair, while Mr. Cherdchai Chaivaivid, Director-General of the Department of International Economics, represented as Thailand’s APEC Senior Official. At SOM1, Thailand hosted 29 meetings and seminars with engagement from technical experts and senior policy makers, to advance APEC Thailand 2022’s key priorities as follows:
- OPEN: A refreshed conversation on the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific or FTAAP
APEC member economies shared the same view that it is timely for APEC to revisit the FTAAP agenda and discuss what
a future FTAAP should look like in the post-COVID-19 context, to ensure that APEC regional economic integration benefits from
new opportunities, while also addressing emerging challenges and contributing to sustainable and inclusive long-term economic growth. The discussion initiated during SOM1 has laid the groundwork for further in-depth discussion, building towards final outcomes of a joint statement between APEC business leaders and APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade, as well as a joint statement of APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade. The APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting will be held in May 2022 before the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC12).
- CONNECT: Reconnecting the region safely and seamlessly
APEC Senior Officials discussed proposals, submitted by member economies including Thailand, to facilitate safe and seamless cross-border travel in the region. There is broad based support that this is a matter of urgency. APEC should take this agenda forward in a two-pronged approach. First is to work on actionable proposals to achieve something concrete in a short time – possibly
by mid-2022, such as an APEC Information Portal for Safe Passage as a one-stop portal for information on cross-border travel
within the region and sharing of COVID-19 vaccination certificates’ technical specifications so that certificates issued by APEC economies can be easily verified across the region. At the same time, APEC will work towards enhancing long-term business mobility and resilience against future pandemics or other challenges, such as expanding the scope of APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC)
to cover a broader range of businesses and promoting safe and sustainable tourism. These proposals are expected
to be implemented within this year. APEC will continue its work on safe passage intersessionally, aiming to deliver timely and
tangible solutions for our people and businesses
- BALANCE: Promoting inclusive, sustainable and balanced economic development
APEC Senior Officials welcomed Thailand’s proposal on the Bangkok Goals on BCG Economy as a standalone APEC Leaders’ document, that collates relevant APEC’s commitments and workstreams in a comprehensive and encompassing setting, using
the BCG Economy concept as an entry point, to help drive and accelerate APEC’s work on sustainability. APEC Senior Officials exchanged views on the possible key elements, scope and structure of the Bangkok Goals and will continue to work on developing
this Leaders’ document as a key deliverable to be endorsed at the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Bangkok in November 2022.
The First APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM1) has kicked off Thailand’s APEC 2022 host year. The series of Senior Officials’ meetings will continue throughout the year, building on one another towards achieving the key deliverables at the end of the year.
The next APEC meeting will be the Finance and Central Bank Deputies’ Meeting on 16-17 March 2022, in a virtual format.
Thailand aims to host the Second Senior Officials Meeting (SOM2) in a fully physical format during 9-19 May 2022 in Bangkok.