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The largest cluster of APEC senior officials’ meetings this year is about to begin in Chiang Mai, as Thailand prepares to host the APEC Third Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM3) and Related Meetings in physical format on 16-31 August 2022. Building on the progress and achievements made thus far, the meetings aim to continue steering the Asia-Pacific region through ongoing global economic challenges towards sustainable and inclusive economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, under the theme of “Open. Connect. Balance.”.

 

SOM3 will consist of a total of 67 meetings involving 28 APEC sub-fora and additional meetings specially organised to move forward APEC 2022’s priorities. In addition, 4 sectoral Ministerial Meetings will also be held during this period, namely, tourism, health, food security and forestry. The themes of these meetings align with the Bio-Circular-Green (BCG) Economy Model, the overarching thinking behind Thailand’s APEC host year. Over 1,800 APEC delegates are expected to participate in SOM3, the majority of which will travel to Chiang Mai while the rest will participate in Bangkok and via online.

 

Over the 2-week period, APEC delegates will come together to achieve 3 key deliverables as Thailand’s APEC host year enters its final stretch ahead of the APEC Economic Leaders’ Week in November 2022. Key highlights include (1) carrying on the discussions from the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting (MRT) in May 2022, on how to meaningfully carry forward the conversation on the Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP) in the post-COVID-19 context, especially through the development of the FTAAP multi-year work plan; (2) the last meeting of the Safe Passage Taskforce (SPTF), where key discussions will center around implementing the endorsed safe passage initiatives, as well as how APEC can further its commitment to facilitate business mobility in the region, and create a crisis-proof resilient travel infrastructure for a more responsive future; and (3) the development of the Bangkok Goals on Bio-Circular-Green (BCG) Economy, where economies will continue revising the draft document and prepare to submit it for endorsement by APEC Leaders in Bangkok in November. A Roundtable on Partnership towards Sustainable Economic Growth through the BCG Economy Model as well as a Dedicated Session on the Bangkok Goals will be organised to advance this initiative.

 

SOM3 is an important opportunity for APEC economies to accelerate their efforts toward achieving key deliverables set out at the beginning of the year, which will contribute to the APEC Putrajaya vision 2040 of an open, dynamic, resilient, and peaceful Asia-Pacific community, for the prosperity of all our people and future generations.