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SBF Facilitates Discussion Among APEC Government Officials And Business Leaders On Safe Reopening of Borders

Monday, 3 May 2021 [Singapore] – About 400 business leaders and government officials from the 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies1 participated in the virtual Public-Private Dialogue (PPD) on Reopening Borders for Safe and Seamless Travel.

The event was co-organised by the Singapore Business Federation (SBF), as APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) Singapore, together with ABAC Hong Kong, China, to facilitate conversations among APEC government officials, business leaders and private sector representatives from the trade, tourism, and aviation sectors. Mr Ong Ye Kung, Minister for Transport, Singapore and Mr Edward Yau Tang-wah, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Hong Kong, China delivered keynote addresses at the virtual event.

Topics discussed during the two-hour session included the impact of border closing on regional and global economies, updates on APEC’s travel initiatives such as the creation of digital health passports, and the opportunities and challenges as countries ramp up their vaccination efforts and progressively reopen borders.

Mr Lam Yi Young, CEO of SBF and Convenor of the ABAC Taskforce on Reopening Borders for Safe and Seamless Travel, said, “Public-private collaboration is key to developing a consistent regional framework that facilitates business travel and avoids a ‘spaghetti bowl of rules’ that can result in unnecessary costs, complexity and time spent in quarantine for travellers. The development of a regional framework, which allows economies to come onboard when they are ready, will help to boost global economic recovery.”

Mr Nicholas Ho, Chairman of Ho and Partners Architects and Member of ABAC Hong Kong, China and co-organiser of this PPD said, “The reopening of borders for safe and seamless travel remains a key concern for businesses. With various bilateral travel bubbles adopting different vaccinations and quarantine protocols, as well as many organisations globally developing their own digital health passports, there is a need for mutual recognition, establishing a common standard and ensuring interoperability of systems to facilitate business travel.”

The discussions that took place will add to insights in ABAC’s Survey on Travel and Borders, as well as to case studies, and consultations with business leaders that will shape ABAC’s final recommendations to the APEC members.

ABAC is the official advisory body appointed by leaders of APEC to provide private sector recommendations on business-related issues to boost regional co-operation.

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