A productive and highly successful APEC Summit 2022 ended in Bangkok today, with the leaders endorsing the importance of a Bio-Circular-Green economic model, sustainability and also recognising the challenges facing the world, in particular the Russia-Ukraine war and climate change. Thailand also handed over the baton to the next APEC host, the United States
The 29th APEC meeting in Bangkok had special significance as it was the first meeting of APEC leaders in person after the Covid-19 pandemic.
This year, under the APEC theme “Open. Connect. Balance.”, Thailand pushed three priorities: to be open to all opportunities, be connected in all dimensions, and balanced in all aspects, to advance long-term robust, innovative and inclusive economic growth as well as sustainability objectives in the Asia-Pacific region.
This morning, Apec 2022 wrapped up with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha symbolically handing the Apec “chalom” over to US Vice President Kamala Harris, who represented President Biden, as the next Apec host.
The handover ceremony took place at around noon, with Prayut saying the chalom – the traditional Thai basket and this year’s Apec logo – represented strength, flexibility and consistency. He said he hoped the US would uphold Apec’s aims and visions when it hosts the next summit.
The Prime Minister said: “We hope the BCG [bio-circular-green] economic model will also be one of the main factors that bring economies together.” He hoped that the US and other economies would work together to help the Asia-Pacific region prosper, adding the world is undergoing significant changes and that environment and sustainability are crucial.
During the APEC Summit, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) participated in the meeting to present the 2022 Global Economic Outlook. In addition, APEC Leaders engaged in dialogues with the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) as well as special guests — the Crown Prince and Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the President of the French Republic — to exchange views with the private sector and APEC’s external partners.
During APEC 2022, the meetings were divided into three areas: Senior Officials’ meetings, APEC Ministerial Meetings and APEC Leaders Meetings.
Yesterday at the Apec Ministerial Meetings, 48 joint statements were issued, setting three priorities to promote trade and investment among the 21 member economies. The meeting was chaired by two Thai Cabinet members — Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Don Pramudwinai and Deputy Premier and Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit.
The declaration, adopted by consensus, by APEC Economic Leaders, were: the 2022 APEC Leaders’ Declaration, and the Bangkok Goals on BCG Economy Model.
APEC 2022 saw Thailand, as host economy, navigate APEC through a year full of uncertainties to achieve three key deliverables. These include (1) the FTAAP Agenda Work Plan 2023 – 2026 to take forward the refreshed conversation on the Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP) in the post-COVID context, to help build capacities of economies to better prepare for next generation trade issues; (2) the Safe Passage Taskforce’s recommendations on how APEC’s safe passage work should be carried forward to continue building resilience in the region’s travel infrastructure against future disruptions, and (3) the adoption of the Bangkok Goals on BCG Economy, as APEC’s first comprehensive goals on sustainability and inclusivity agendas, which focus on 4 key areas: climate change mitigation, sustainable trade and investment, environmental conservation and waste management.
The members also averred that the war in Ukraine, caused by the Russia’s aggression, has adversely impacted the global economy. They demanded the complete and unconditional withdrawal from the territory of Ukraine. Most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine and stressed it is causing immense human suffering and exacerbating existing fragilities in the global economy. It is constraining growth, increasing inflation, disrupting supply chains, heightening energy and food insecurity, and elevating financial stability risks. There were other views and different assessments of the situation and sanctions. Recognising that APEC is not the forum to resolve security issues, the members acknowledged that security issues can have significant consequences for the global economy.
The 21 members affirmed their commitment to promote strong, balanced, secure, sustainable and inclusive growth, recognise that more intensive efforts are needed to address today’s challenges, including climate change, extreme weather and natural disasters, food security, and sustainable energy transitions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while ensuring energy resilience, access and security in the region, including by facilitating investments in relevant activities.
And this is a summary of everything that happened at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center during APEC Thailand 2022. I am Neeracha Malisak- Lemire reporting from the Apec summit centre.