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APEC meeting hailed as success

By YANG HAN | China Daily | Updated: 2022-11-21 07:09

This photo taken on Nov 12, 2022 shows the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center in Bangkok, Thailand. [Photo/Xinhua]

Leaders reaffirm commitments to economic stability and sustainable development

Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has described the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in Bangkok as a success after the Bangkok Goals on Bio-Circular-Green Economy were endorsed on Saturday.

The comprehensive framework to further APEC's sustainability objectives will advance these goals in a bold, responsive and comprehensive manner, merging existing commitments with new aspirational ones.

Prayut, also chair of the meeting, said the talks also covered how to boost trade and investment under a planned Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific.

Leaders reaffirmed their longstanding commitment to promoting strong, balanced, secure, sustainable and inclusive growth as well as their commitment to realizing the APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040, according to a joint statement issued on Saturday.

The APEC leaders' first in-person meeting since the pandemic broke out nearly three years ago was a joint success of all APEC economies and all those involved at the meeting, Prayut said.

The Leaders' Declaration 2022 adopted at the meeting reflects the work of APEC throughout the year, with the concept of the Bio-Circular-Green economy becoming an engine promoting outcomes under the theme "Open, connect, balance", he said.

In terms of the "open" theme, Prayut said APEC has also prepared a multiyear work plan to continue dialogue on the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific and to prepare for new trade and investment issues.

"APEC has revived safe and seamless cross-border travel to prepare for future crises," said Prayut, referring to the element of "connect".

As a key outcome of this year's APEC that addresses "balance", the Bangkok Goals on Bio-Circular-Green Economy were adopted at the meeting.

The joint statement said: "We …are determined to uphold and further strengthen the rules-based multilateral trading system, with the World Trade Organization at its core."

The statement also called for an end to the Ukraine-Russia conflict.

Addressing the second session of the APEC meeting on Saturday, Vietnam's President Nguyen Xuan Phuc said trade and investment benefits must be harmonized with responsibility for environmental protection and green transformation, and promotion of science, technology and innovation.

APEC economies need to ensure an open, transparent and nondiscriminatory trade environment by implementing free trade and investment protection agreements and removing inappropriate technical barriers, Phuc said. Collaboration also needs to be stepped up in regional supply chains, as does economic connectivity, he said.

South Korea will do what it can to help enhance the resilience of global supply chains, the country's Prime Minister, Han Duck-soo, said.

APEC should endeavor to strengthen the multilateral trading system centered on the World Trade Organization and advance discussion on the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific, he said.

Call for collaboration

Mohd Zuki Ali, chief secretary to the government of Malaysia, said APEC economies should set up a collaborative platform to support the participation of micro, small and medium-sized companies in international trade transactions.

Such companies represent about 95 percent of global businesses and account for about 60 percent of employment across economies of all levels of development, he said, and they are the backbone of most APEC economies and the growth engine of the region.

APEC can identify specific solutions for key challenges that such companies face through enhanced trade facilitation measures, meaningful inclusion in regulatory development and alignment, as well as better access to finance and cross-border payments, he said.

Thailand also invited leaders of France and Saudi Arabia to attend the APEC Leaders' Informal Dialogue with Guests.

After the leaders' meeting, Prayut handed over a woven bamboo basket to US Vice-President Kamala Harris to symbolize the handover of the APEC chairmanship from Thailand to the US, which will host the next APEC Leaders' Meeting in San Francisco.

YANG HAN in Bangkok

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