APEC Business Advisory Council Members Gather in Singapore for First Meeting of 2022
Wednesday, 16 February 2022 [Singapore] – Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, Singapore is hosting the first APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) Meeting for 2022 in a hybrid format from 15 to 18 February. About 200 delegates from the 21 APEC economies are expected to attend the meeting, with delegates from Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and USA attending the meeting physically at Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore.
ABAC is the private sector arm of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and its mandate is to advise government leaders and APEC officials on issues of interest to the business community. The chair for ABAC 2022 is Thailand and Singapore is hosting the meeting at ABAC Thailand’s invitation. The Singapore Business Federation is the ABAC Singapore Secretariat and the organiser for the meeting in Singapore.
The theme for ABAC 2022 is “Embrace, Engage, Enable” – Embrace the reconnected world with endless opportunities; Engage in collaborating new ideas, creatives, and possibilities; and Enable the digitised, sustainable, and inclusive new transformation models. The agenda for the ABAC meetings will cover five topics, each under the purview of a Working Group – regional economic integration; digital; sustainability; finance and economics; and micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and inclusiveness.
Chairman of ABAC 2022 Mr Supant Mongkolsuthree formally opened the first ABAC Meeting for 2022 this morning. Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong was the event’s Guest-of-Honour, and he spoke about the importance of reopening borders safely, maintaining supply chain resilience and the need for companies to seize opportunities in the digital and green economy.
Singapore’s ABAC members are Mr Lam Yi Young, Chief Executive Officer, Singapore Business Federation, who is also the Chair for the Regional Economic Integration Working Group, Mr Wong Wai Meng, Chair, SGTech and Co-Chair of the Digital Working Group, and Ms Elaine Lam, Executive Vice President, Head of Global Corporate Banking at OCBC Bank.
The Regional Economic Integration Working Group’s priorities include how economies can advance pathway agreements towards the realisation of the Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP), supporting the World Trade Organization (WTO) and advocating for a rules-based multilateral trading system, strengthening services trade and investments, and how countries can reopen their borders for safe and seamless travel.
The Digital Working Group aims to establish a foundational digital infrastructure, accelerate the adoption of digital tools for the facilitation of trade and how economies can expand their vital physical infrastructure to expedite the digitalisation of their economies and advance digital inclusion.
Mr Supant Mongkolsuthree, Chairman of ABAC 2022, said, “The ABAC Meeting taking place in Singapore represents a significant milestone – it will be the first time that in-person meetings are taking place following two years of virtual meetings. I would like to acknowledge Singapore for graciously hosting us. In this week, we will finalise the detailed work plans of the five Working Groups and the key issues and priorities. We will continue to engage in active dialogues to strengthen the collective social and economic interests and resilience of the Asia-Pacific community, in line with ABAC 2022’s theme of Embrace, Engage, Enable.”
Mr Lam said, “It is an honour and privilege for Singapore to be able to host the first ABAC meeting of 2022. I would like to thank all ABAC and APEC delegates and officials who are present in Singapore to attend the meeting, as well as those joining us online. Their presence, participation and commitment to the meeting offers a clear demonstration of the important role that ABAC and APEC plays in resuming regional connectivity, fostering close public-private cooperation, and helping businesses and economies to recover and thrive in an endemic COVID-19 environment.”
Annex A: ABAC 2022 Working Groups Chairs and Co-chairs