Countdown to the Historic Business and Trade Summit: Apec CEO Summit 2022
What is in it for Thailand? Who will benefit from this historic Summit? What are the opportunities we should be looking out for?
The upcoming Apec CEO Summit in Bangkok this November brings together the world’s top business leaders and will be a strong opportunity to stimulate the Thai economy towards recovery. The historic summit is among the most prominent platforms in the world for the business sector to discuss trade and investment ways forward. But what will people on the street gain from this remarkable event? Will there be any tangible results? How will the meeting of the top CEOs and business leaders bring change to our everyday life?
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) was founded in 1989 as a platform for economic collaboration for 21 economies on the Pacific coast. The forum was created as a ground for discussion among government officials. For the policies and ideas to materialise private sector representatives were brought in. In 1995 Apec Business Advisory Council or Abac was founded. Each member economy has 3 Abac members who represent their economy discussing various issues which help to advance and uplift the economy in the Apec region. A year after Apec CEO Summit was founded under the umbrella of Abac giving a unique opportunity for leading business communities in the region to discuss further economic development with economic leaders, academia and business leaders.
The summit is a landmark opportunity for business leaders and policymakers to discuss issues of public interest. It is also a symbolic show of regional cooperation on the world stage.
Poj Aramwattananont, Chairman of the Apec CEO Summit 2022 and Abac Thailand Member, said the theme for this year’s event is: “Embrace, Engage, Enable.”
“All the leaders and speakers who were invited to share their vision at the summit are prominent figures who play a key role in charting the direction of the global economy. The summit is thus a perfect chance for Thai people to catch up on global trends and changes. We are confident that the summit will be a key platform for trade and investment for Thailand as the host. It will be a prime opportunity for the Thai private sector to display our potential to a global audience, whether in terms of investment, food security, tourism or finance,” Poj said.
What will people gain from the summit? What’s in it for Thailand?
The importance of the Apec CEO Summit cannot be overstated. It is one of the most prestigious stages where world leaders, thought leaders, policymakers and CEOs from some of the world’s largest and most innovative companies will gather to share their vision about economic development and the social issues faced by some of the largest and fastest growing economies in the world.
What may have been left unspoken is that the goal of the gathering is to ensure the well-being of local communities. The ultimate goal of the summit is centred around “people” who are a key part of driving economic growth. In the end, the summit delegates are representatives of the people who are stakeholders of each member economy and the driving force of the theme “Embrace, Engage and Enable.”
Apec comprises 21 member economies, including superpowers such as the United States, China, Japan, Canada, South Korea and Russia. Home to over 2.9 billion people or about one-third of the world’s population, APEC economies have a combined gross domestic product of more than US$ 53 trillion (about 1700 trillion baht) — more than half of the world’s GDP. The group represents nearly half of the world trade.
If the summit results in the region becoming more integrated — with trade barriers reduced and rules and laws more streamlined — there will be a trade boom which in turn will lead to a state of prosperity. When Apec’s overall trade grows, it creates development from upstream to downstream. Across the entire chain there is an improvement in people’s wellbeing, whether in terms of increased revenue, employment or regional expansion.
Ease of Doing Business
When cooperation at the policy level is extended to the private sector, the result is an ease of doing business internationally. This means an improvement in every business process and innovation, whether it involves starting a business, getting credit or dealing with permits.
For example, Apec’s regulatory reforms in dealing with construction permits have helped make it easier, cheaper and faster to build a new plant or office building. Indeed, Apec ranks among the top in the world for the shortest permit time.
The ease of launching a new business in Asia-Pacific opens the door to investment and trade opportunities. The benefits in the form of life opportunities, profit, time and other resources belong to people from all backgrounds who are engaged in business.
Clean World, Good Health
Since the private sector’s main mission is doing business, it plays an important part in maintaining the health of the entire world, whether it be the quality of the soil, water or the very air we breathe. The summit will help set the direction of the business as it aims to upgrade its sustainability scores covering multiple dimensions, whether it be food security, food safety or sustainable agricultural development which has been a long-standing problem in the Asia-Pacific region.
The central question is how to move forward with an assurance that people will not go hungry and can enjoy a state of well-being. The challenge involves how to improve the capacity of food production — both in terms of quantity and quality — without compromising the environment while ensuring that the negative impact on the food chain will be minimal. And how will the private sector develop clean technology that is friendly to the environment across the region and allow the people to enjoy peaceful coexistence and good health.
Green Energy for Less Carbon Intensity
Apec economies are determined to reduce energy intensity in the region by 45 per cent by 2030. In 2014, the bloc agreed to double the share of renewables in the energy mix by 2030.
Renewable energy is derived from naturally replenished sources such as sunlight, wind, water, geothermal heat, biomass or farm residue. With the goals in place, stakeholders in the private energy sector have been eager to invest in clean energy technologies. Investment has expedited the development of innovative technologies such as green hydrogen or advanced batteries with zero carbon emissions and long-term energy storage. the production which can store more energy while leaving no carbon.
We, the people, will all benefit as consumers of clean energy for a better future for our children.
Health and Longevity
One of the agendas for this year’s summit is: “Rethinking Healthcare after the Pandemic.” Businesses have seen that the Covid-19 pandemic has put healthcare on the global agenda. As Covid-19 struck, a host of health-related new businesses emerged. These include telehealth, stand-alone hospitals and healthcare facilities, lab services and new innovations in drugs and vaccines.
In 2021, the 15 biggest pharmaceutical companies in the world poured the US $33 billion into research and development, an increase of 45% from 2016. The shift underlines the change towards a greater focus on healthcare which will help people live longer while preparing us to cope better should there be another outbreak in the future.
The summit, to take place from November 16-18, focuses on topics of interest and challenging issues that the world is facing and struggling to find mutually agreeable solutions. The summit outcome will certainly become an agenda for the private sector to start acting on, follow up on and address issues to help benefit the public.
Since the summit’s goal is to ensure inclusive and sustainable growth in trade and business, it is essentially everyone’s business to help make it come true. It requires cooperation between the private sector and the public to help drive the economy so that all of us can enjoy benefits of growth together.
APEC Business Advisory Council ( ABAC )