Mr Lam is also Chair of the Regional Economic Integration Working Group and Mr Wong, Co-chair of the Digital Working Group.
ABAC’S RECOMMENDATIONS TO APEC ECONOMIC LEADERS
ABAC Singapore has championed a wide range of issues on behalf of the Singapore business community through the ABAC platform, such as trade liberalisation, leveraging the digital economy, climate change and, more recently, the region's work in tackling
the COVID-19 pandemic. ABAC's recommendations cumulate in its annual report to APEC Economic Leaders.
Click here for more information on ABAC, its upcoming events and past reports submitted to APEC Economic Leaders.
HIGHLIGHTS OF ABAC 2022
Hosting of 1st APEC Business Advisory Council Meeting in Singapore
Singapore hosted the 1st APEC Business Advisory Council Meeting (ABAC) for 2022 in February. This was ABAC’s first in-person meeting after two years of virtual meetings. More than 100 delegates from the 21 APEC economies attended the meeting
physically, with another 150 delegates participating virtually in ABAC’s first-ever hybrid meeting.
The hosting of the ABAC I was an important first step taken to allow Asia Pacific business leaders to reconnect face-to-face and was a clear signal to business communities in the region that Singapore is “open for business”. The resumption
of cross-border travel is also critical for global economic recovery. While the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the use of innovative technologies and enabled business to engage virtually, there has also been strong recognition that in person interactions
are essential especially for businesses to establish new relationships and build trust.
Advancing the APEC Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP)
SBF CEO Mr Lam Yi Young, as Chair of ABAC REIWG, led the work in developing private sector recommendations on prioritising outcomes of the Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP) through the development of a multi-year FTAAP Work Plan this year for
five key business priorities: (1) Digitalisation (2) Inclusion (3) Sustainability (4) Trade and Investment and (5) Trade Response to the Pandemic. Mr Lam also participated in a Public-Private Dialogue with the APEC Ministers Responsible for
Trade (MRT) held on 21 May 2022 in Bangkok, Thailand, to reiterate ABAC's recommendations and discussed how APEC governments could take steps towards achieving tangible outcomes for businesses in the short to medium term. The full recommendations
can be found in ABAC's 2022 APEC Economic Leaders here.
In line with the recommendations in ABAC's Statement on FTAAP, the 2022 APEC Leaders' Declaration reaffirmed their commitment to build on the momentum
towards high quality and comprehensive regional undertakings through the FTAAP Agenda Work Plan. Officials were also tasked to carry out the Work Plan and deepen the public and private sector collaboration between the Ministers Responsible for Trade
(MRT) and ABAC to advance the FTAAP agenda.
Reopening of Borders for Safe and Seamless Travel
In 2021, SBF convened the ABAC Taskforce on Reopening of Borders for Safe and Seamless Travel to develop recommendations for a regionally consistent framework that would minimise costs and complexities for business travel. As part of our work to develop
these recommendations, we facilitated a virtual Public-Private Dialogue (PPD) on Reopening Borders for Safe and Seamless Travel on 3 May 2021 and gathered inputs from business leaders in the affected sectors and APEC policymakers. The dialogue, which
also featured keynote speeches from then Singapore Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung and Hong Kong Commerce Secretary Edward Yau, saw a total of 400 participants from all 21 APEC Economies.
Results from the Survey on Travel Borders we conducted received a total of
305 responses across all 21 APEC Economies and 25 industry sectors also contributed to the recommendations we submitted to APEC Economic Leaders on the reopening of safe and seamless travel. The full recommendations can be found in ABAC’s 2021
Report to APEC Economic Leaders here.
In line with our Recommendations on Reopening Borders for Safe and Seamless Travel, APEC formed the APEC Safe Passage Taskforce which successfully launched the following initiatives in October and November 2022:
- Voluntary Principles for the Interoperability of Vaccination Certifications in the APEC Region: These principles aim to support the safe reopening of travel in the APEC region and ensure interoperability
among vaccination certificates issued by other APEC economies.
- APEC one-stop information portal: The portal taps into official resources from participating member economies and shows the COVID-19 measures still in place that would help travellers navigate the different
protocols in the case of future shocks or another pandemic.
KEY MEETINGS & EVENTS OF ABAC 2022