The first APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM1) Discussion on leveraging Science, Technology, Innovation and Digitalisation to improve trade and investment and well-being
The first APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM1) has now entered its fourth day. During 16-17 February 2022, 11 APEC’s Working Groups convened their meetings, covering key issues such as digital economy, health, service sector trade, science, technology and innovation (STI) as well as anti-corruption and transparency.
The sub-fora meetings in the past two days provided a platform for APEC delegates to deliberate on how STI and digitalization can be leveraged to aid trade and investment and improve the people’s well-being. For example, the Policy Partnership on Science, Technology and Innovation (PPSTI) discussed the importance of STI in driving APEC towards inclusive and sustainable growth that is also resilient against future shocks. Thailand proposed several projects under PPSTI including the municipal waste management
based on the BCG model.
During these few days, Thailand also chaired sub-fora meetings that contribute to advancing APEC’s agenda on STI and digital economy. These include the Sub-Committee on Customs Procedures (SCCP), where Thailand’s policy interest is on post-COVID
trade recovery and digital connectivity and the Digital Economy Steering Group (DESG), where Thailand leads the review of the APEC Internet and Digital Economy Roadmap (AIDER), already underway for 5 years, and presented recommendations for trade document standards to facilitate digital trade in APEC. The Health Working Group (HWG) meeting discussed, among other things, health-related innovation and digital tools as ways to achieve resilient health systems and balance between health and the economy, as Thailand
will host the High-Level Meeting on Health and the Economy in August 2022. The Anti-Corruption and Transparency Experts’ Working Group (ACTWG), under Thailand’s chairmanship, organized a “Workshop on Technology for Transparency: Digital Disruption to Corruption”. Participants also shared their experiences and discussed development of APEC’s anti-corruption strategic plan 2023-2026.
At the same time, the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) convened the First Meeting of ABAC for 2022 in hybrid format during 15-17 February in Singapore. Chaired by Mr. Supant Mongkolsuthree, ABAC Chair, this platform is an opportunity for government officials to listen to the collective voice of the business community. Mr. Thani Thongphakdi, Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Thailand and APEC SOM Chair, attended the Meeting in person to discuss with ABAC representatives and APEC Senior Officials on how to collaborate and align APEC and ABAC priorities and workplans for 2022. Both sides agreed to foster collaboration on key issues ranging from regional economic integration, finance and economics, digital economy, the safe reopening of borders as well as sustainability and inclusivity, especially on promoting MSMEs. The outcome of this meeting will be reported to APEC SOM1.
Using science, technology, innovation and digitalisation to its full potential, is fundamental to driving APEC towards inclusive, sustainable and dynamic economic development. It is also an integral part of the BCG model. The meetings in the past two days
play an instrumental role in framing the work of APEC working groups that will enable and facilitate the realisation of Thailand’s host year priorities to promote sustainable and balanced future of APEC.