APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC)

About APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC)

Established in November 1995 by APEC economic leaders, ABAC is the private-sector arm of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and comprises senior business leaders appointed by their respective economic leaders to serve as its members. The main mandate of ABAC is to advise Leaders and other APEC officials on issues of interest to business. ABAC typically presents its recommendations to leaders during ABAC's annual year-end dialogue with leaders and advises APEC officials on business sector priorities and concerns. ABAC members of the 21 APEC economies typically meet four times during the year to develop and refine these recommendations.

The Singapore Business Federation was appointed by the Ministry of Trade and Industry Singapore to perform the role of the national secretariat for ABAC Singapore and represent the Singapore business community's interests on trade and investment issues in the region.


SINGAPORE’S REPRESENTATIVES

Singapore is represented by its three appointed ABAC members:

Mr Lam Yi Young

Chief Executive Officer

Singapore Business Federation

Mr Wong Wai Meng

Chairman

SG Tech

Ms Elaine Lam

Head of Global Corporate

Banking OCBC Bank

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)

At the 2nd APEC Business Advisory Council Meeting (ABAC) 2022 held in April in Vancouver, Canada, SBF CEO Mr Lam Yi Young, who led the work in developing private sector recommendations on important issues at the meeting: prioritising outcomes of the Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP), and urging for outcomes at the 12th World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference.  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 further discussion on how APEC governments could take steps towards achieving tangible outcomes for businesses in the short to medium term.  

ABAC Task Force on 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.

Championing the Services at ABAC

Prior to 2021, SBF also served as ABAC’s services champion, helping drive ABAC’s inputs and recommendations for enhancing services trade and APEC’s development of key initiatives such as the APEC Services Competitiveness Roadmap (2016-2025).

KEY MEETINGS & EVENTS OF ABAC 2022 

1[sup]st[/sup] ABAC Meeting held in Singapore, in February 2022.
ABAC members attending 2[sup]nd[/sup] ABAC Meeting held in Vancouver, Canada, in April 2022.
ABAC Singapore and other representatives at the ABAC-MRT dialogue held in Bangkok, Thailand, in May 2022.