From The Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs. There have been no edits to this statement.
1. We, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Ministers, met in Bangkok, Thailand, on 17 November 2022, under the chairmanship of H.E. Mr. Don Pramudwinai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, and H.E. Mr. Jurin Laksanawisit, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce of Thailand.
2. We welcomed the participation of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC), and the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF).
3. We reiterate our strong commitment towards the achievement of the APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040, including through the implementation of the Aotearoa Plan of Action, to realise an open, dynamic, resilient and peaceful Asia-Pacific community by 2040, for the prosperity of all our people and future generations.
4. This year, under the APEC 2022 theme “Open. Connect. Balance.”, we advanced our work through three priorities, to promote trade and investment that is open to all opportunities, to reconnect the region in all dimensions, and to drive APEC towards balanced, inclusive and sustainable growth through approaches such as the Bio-Circular-Green (BCG) Economy.
5. At our meeting, we deliberated on APEC’s achievements in 2022 under this year’s priorities, provided guidance on our future work, and discussed the way forward for APEC.
PRIORITY 1: OPEN TO ALL OPPORTUNITIES
6. As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, trade and investment play a critical and indispensable role in accelerating global economic recovery and regenerating growth, and can contribute positively to uplifting livelihoods, reducing poverty and advancing sustainable economic development. We will adopt more balanced and inclusive trade and economic policies, and reiterate our determination to deliver a free, open, fair, non-discriminatory, transparent, inclusive and predictable trade and investment environment. We will continue our efforts to keep supply chains functioning, secure and resilient. We will continue to work to ensure a level playing field to foster a favourable trade and investment environment and reaffirm our commitment to keep markets open and to address supply chain disruptions.
7. This year, we have also witnessed the war in Ukraine further adversely impact the global economy. There was a discussion on the issue. We reiterated our positions as expressed in other fora, including the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly, which, in Resolution No. ES-11/1 dated 2 March 2022, as adopted by majority vote (141 votes for, 5 against, 35 abstentions, 12 absent) deplores in the strongest terms the aggression by the Russian Federation against Ukraine and demands its 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 – 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, we acknowledge that security issues can have significant consequences for the global economy.
8. We will further advance economic integration in the region in a manner that is market-driven, including through the work on the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) agenda which contributes to high standard and comprehensive regional undertakings. We recognise the useful contributions of the Lima Declaration and the Beijing Roadmap on progressing the FTAAP agenda. In this regard, we recall the deliberations at the 2022 APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT) Meeting and welcome a refreshed conversation on the FTAAP in the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. To that end, we welcome the FTAAP Agenda Work Plan in responding to Leaders’ commitments in the Putrajaya Vision 2040 and the Aotearoa Plan of Action to take forward work on the FTAAP agenda. We emphasise the importance of cross-fora collaboration and engagement with other economic stakeholders. We task officials to report progress in carrying out the Work Plan to the APEC Ministerial Meeting (AMM) in the following years. We note ABAC’s call to accelerate regional economic integration by taking prompt action on the Work Plan. We will also continue our efforts in capacity building to improve trade negotiation skills of economies.
9. We reaffirm the importance of and commit to upholding and further strengthening the rules-based multilateral trading system, with the World Trade Organization (WTO) at its core. We recognise the important role of the multilateral trading system to support economic recovery from global challenges, in particular through the facilitation of the movement of and access to food as well as essential goods and services related to the COVID-19 pandemic. We welcome the successful outcomes of the Twelfth WTO Ministerial Conference (MC12) held during 12-17 June 2022 in Geneva, Switzerland. In this connection, we commit to working constructively to fully implement the MC12 outcomes. We commend the WTO’s role and call on it to continue its work in promoting sustainable and inclusive growth. We will continue to work towards positive outcomes at the Thirteenth Ministerial Conference (MC13). We will continue to lend our support through our leadership and our role as an incubator of ideas. We also note with appreciation ABAC’s support for strengthening the multilateral trading system.
10. We welcome the Ministerial Declaration on the WTO Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic and Preparedness for Future Pandemics. We also welcome the Ministerial Decision on the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement, in which no later than six months from the date of the Decision, WTO Members agreed to decide on its extension to cover the production and supply of COVID-19 diagnostics and therapeutics. We commend the work of the WTO on environmental sustainability in support of SDG 14.6 and welcome the Ministerial Decision on the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies that prohibits subsidies contributing to illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, subsidies regarding overfished stocks, and subsidies to fishing on the unregulated high seas. In this regard, we note the WTO Negotiating Group on Rules shall continue negotiations based on the outstanding issues with a view to making recommendations to MC13 for additional provisions that would achieve a comprehensive agreement on fisheries subsidies, including through further disciplines on certain forms of fisheries subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, recognising that appropriate and effective special and differential treatment for developing Members and least developed Members should be an integral part of these negotiations, and call upon APEC economies as well as other WTO Members to make their utmost efforts to promptly submit their instruments of acceptance of the Agreement. We welcome the Ministerial Declaration on the Emergency Response to Food Insecurity. We also welcome the Ministerial Decision on World Food Programme (WFP) Food Purchases Exemptions from Export Prohibitions or Restrictions, in which WTO Members agreed not to impose export prohibitions or restrictions on foodstuffs purchased for non-commercial humanitarian purposes by the WFP. We also welcome the Ministerial Declaration on Responding to Modern SPS Challenges and the Ministerial Decision on the Work Programme on Electronic Commerce, the Ministerial Decision on the Work Programme on Small Economies and the Ministerial Decision on TRIPS Non-Violation and Situation Complaints.
11. We recognise the importance of the global agricultural and food systems, underpinned by WTO rules, bringing food, fibre, and other critical products to people all over the world. Despite its importance for ensuring global food security and sustainable economic development, agriculture remains one of the most protected sectors in global trade. We recognise the need for a meaningful outcome on agriculture at the WTO, reflecting our collective interests and sensitivities, with a view towards achieving substantial progressive reductions in support and protection, as envisaged in the continuation of the agricultural reform process provided in Article 20 of the WTO Agreement on Agriculture and existing mandates.
12. Respective APEC member participants welcome the successful conclusion of the negotiations on Services Domestic Regulation, as well as the substantial progress made on the JSI on E-Commerce and the JSI on Investment Facilitation for Development.
13. We remain committed to working together in the WTO to continue to support its necessary reform to improve all its functions, in order to ensure that it can better address existing and emerging global trade challenges. We welcome the reform pathway that was agreed at MC12, including the commitment to conduct discussions with the view to having a fully- and well-functioning dispute settlement system accessible to all WTO members by 2024.
14. Mindful of the vast potential that the services sector holds, we underscore the importance of continued efforts to implement the APEC Services Competitiveness Roadmap (ASCR) by 2025, reiterating the recommendations in the Summary Report of the ASCR Mid-Term Review (MTR) in 2021. We reiterate our commitment to making services domestic regulation and policy reform in favour of openness, balance, transparency, and inclusivity as a central focus of APEC’s structural reform agenda, and enhancing synergy among the APEC Internet and Digital Economy Roadmap (AIDER), the La Serena Roadmap for Women and Inclusive Growth (2019-2030), and the Enhanced APEC Agenda for Structural Reform (EAASR). We task the Group on Services to coordinate with the Economic Committee and the Digital Economy Steering Group to examine the role of services competitiveness within these fora’s respective agendas up to 2025 and welcome the initiatives underway in this regard. We recognise the larger impact on and slower recovery of services relative to goods from the COVID-19 pandemic. Considering the importance of sound and timely policy to ensuring sustainable and inclusive recovery from the pandemic and strengthening resilience against future economic shocks, we recognise the need of assessing pandemic recovery in the APEC region and welcome the Decision on Monitoring Pandemic Recovery under the ASCR.
15. We commit to creating a sound and predictable regulatory environment and advance good regulatory practices and international regulatory cooperation to further facilitate trade and investment and promote greater transparency, predictability and interoperability in the region. We welcome the 15th Conference on Good Regulatory Practices, focusing on the use of digital technology and good regulatory practices to support a swift, resilient, inclusive, sustainable, green and innovative economic recovery. We will continue to actively implement all four pillars of the EAASR and to cooperate on the Third Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) Action Plan, which focuses on encouraging inclusive and resilient growth, especially for women and MSMEs, as well as to refresh the Action Plan to align measurement of our progress with international best practices.
16. We recognise the important role of science, technology and innovation (STI) in driving sustainable economic growth and development in this digital era. We will work to promote an enabling environment for new and emerging technologies including through research and development, knowledge sharing and capacity building, and note the important role played by the private sector and academia in this regard. We reiterate our commitment to promoting intellectual property rights through policies and programmes that support and advance innovation and creativity in the digital economy to increase economic benefits.
PRIORITY 2: CONNECT IN ALL DIMENSIONS
17. After years of COVID-19, it is paramount to reconnect the region in all dimensions.
We remain committed to advancing the APEC connectivity agenda, including through implementing the APEC Connectivity Blueprint towards a seamlessly and comprehensively connected and integrated Asia-Pacific by strengthening physical, institutional, and people-to-people connectivity. In this regard, we reaffirm the importance of quality infrastructure development and investment.
18. We support efforts to enhance supply chain connectivity and minimise supply chain disruptions. We welcome and endorse Phase Three of the Supply Chain Connectivity Framework Action Plan (SCFAP III). Trade facilitation is a vital tool in supporting the efficient flow of essential goods, including COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostics, therapeutics, and other related essential medical products during the COVID-19 pandemic. We take note of the APEC definition of “logistics-related services” and encourage robust implementation of the Declaration on Facilitating the Movement of Essential Goods, the Statement on COVID-19 Vaccine Supply Chains and the Statement on Services to Support the Movement of Essential Goods. We remain committed to accelerating the implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, particularly of provisions relevant to the timely and efficient release of essential goods.
19. The rapid rise of the digital economy holds massive economic opportunities and paves the way towards the attainment of sustainable, inclusive and innovative growth. We reaffirm our call to accelerate the implementation of AIDER, which prioritises actions on inclusive economic growth, including the facilitation of e-commerce and advancing cooperation on digital trade. We encourage economies to incubate more cutting-edge and comprehensive cooperation initiatives on the digital economy.
20. We emphasise the need to strengthen digital connectivity and advance digital transformation to further facilitate trade. We welcome the progress made in the digitalisation of border clearance processes as well as developing and implementing paperless trading facilitation measures including electronic payments and acceptance of electronic documentation. We will further our work on port and border cooperation and single window interoperability, including by exploring the use of new technologies and innovative solutions, to improve and simplify port clearance and customs procedures.
21. We will continue to explore new areas of potential economic growth in the area of digital trade and e-commerce in addition to cooperating on facilitating the flow of data and strengthening business and consumer trust in digital transactions through, among others, cooperation on regulatory approaches affecting the internet and digital economy as well as appropriate consumer protection in the digital environment. We will deepen cooperation to strengthen the digital infrastructure and to bridge the digital divide between and within economies and foster a safe and secure online environment. Efforts should be intensified in accelerating digital transformation, enhancing digital literacy, strengthening capacity building, and promoting digital skills to build workforce capacity in the digital age. We take note of work on smart cities.
22. We will continue our efforts in increasing MSMEs’ participation in the digital economy and e-commerce. We will further projects that constructively formulate recommendations to help MSMEs thrive in e-commerce marketplaces and reach more consumers through cross-border e-commerce.
23. Safe and seamless resumption of cross-border travel continues to be a critical issue for our region as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, especially with regard to the movement of business people and essential workforces, including air and maritime crew. In this regard, we commend the work of the Safe Passage Taskforce (SPTF) in coordinating APEC efforts that contribute to the facilitation of cross-border travel in the APEC region and welcome the continuation of safe passage work to promote resilience in the face of future disruptions. In this regard, we welcome the Voluntary Principles for the Interoperability of Vaccination Certificates in the APEC Region. We welcome the recommendations in the APEC Policy Support Unit (PSU) Study on “COVID-19 and Cross-Border Mobility in the APEC Region: Addressing Uncertainties at the Border”.
24. We welcome the deliberations at the Twelfth High-level Meeting on Health and the Economy and commend economies’ efforts for the voluntary sharing of technical specifications on the interoperability of vaccination certificates and the development of an information portal to share safe passage information, the use of innovative and digital health technologies, with a view to ensuring safe and seamless cross-border travel. We recognise the APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC) significantly contributes to the facilitation of travel of business people in our region. We encourage economies to make the ABTC more inclusive for MSMEs, and welcome economies’ uptake and acceptance of the virtual ABTC which further supports efficient and seamless cross-border travel.
PRIORITY 3: BALANCE IN ALL ASPECTS
25. Amidst heightened challenges and disruptions facing the region, we reaffirm the commitments made by our Leaders in the Putrajaya Vision 2040 to pursue strong, balanced, secure, sustainable and inclusive growth in the Asia-Pacific and will fulfill them in a bold, responsive and comprehensive manner. We will promote economic policies, cooperation and growth which support global efforts to comprehensively address all environmental challenges, including climate change, extreme weather and natural disasters, for a sustainable planet.
26. We will continue to implement the EAASR and encourage economies to take concrete steps to implement the actions identified in the Individual Action Plans (IAPs). We welcome the 2022 APEC Economic Policy Report (AEPR) on Structural Reform and a Green Recovery from Economic Shocks and encourage economies to take into account its recommendations. We welcome the varied and continuous efforts, as well as the contribution of additional resources across APEC to support structural reforms that promote sustainable green growth, and welcome the newly established fund in this regard. We look forward to the 2023 AEPR on Structural Reform and Enabling Environment for Inclusive, Resilient and Sustainable Business.
27. We welcome the deliberations at the 29th Finance Ministers’ Meeting, with a particular focus on promoting sustainable finance and the usage of digitalisation for fiscal policy and inclusive finance. We encourage closer coordination between the APEC Economic Committee and the APEC Finance Ministers’ Process to advance APEC priorities.
28. We will continue to support environmental sustainability through trade and economic cooperation. We welcome the endorsement of the APEC Environmental Goods Workplan to further strengthen our cooperation in the area of environmental goods. In this connection, we welcome the substantial progress of the work to update the 2012 APEC List of Environmental Goods to Harmonised System (HS) 2022 for reference purposes, and reiterate the importance of the completion of the transposition work as soon as possible. We welcome the progress of the discussions on how to increase trade in environmental and environmentally related services as well as the discussions on developing recommendations for potentially producing a voluntary, non-binding reference list of new and emerging environmental goods, and instruct officials to continue these works. In this regard, we welcome recent work that builds APEC economies’ capacity to schedule commitments on environmental and environmentally related services.
29. We recall our Leaders’ commitment to rationalise and phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption, while recognising the importance of providing those in need with essential energy services. To reach this goal, we will continue our efforts in an accelerated manner. We call for officials to continue their efforts, for those member economies that are in a position to do so, to implement a voluntary standstill on inefficient fossil fuel subsidies. We welcome economies’ use to date of the APEC template for voluntary self identification of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies measures, and encourage others to do so.
30. We will continue to work together to support 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. We welcome the particular attention paid this year to regional interconnectivity, energy transitions as well as sustainable and inclusive growth through the BCG Economy and call for deepened collaboration in this area.
31. In this endeavour, we will ensure that no one is left behind. We adhere to our Leaders’ Vision of fostering quality growth that brings palpable benefits and greater health and well-being to all, including MSMEs, women and others with untapped economic potential.
32. MSMEs contribute significantly to our economies’ GDP, providing an essential foundation of employment and economic growth. We therefore remain committed to globalising MSMEs and increasing their access to finance. We welcome the deliberations at the 28th APEC Small and Medium Enterprises Ministerial Meeting. We will collaborate to improve opportunities for MSMEs to be competitive, specialised, innovative and increase their participation in regional and global markets as well as their integration into global supply and value chains, building on the achievements under the Boracay Action Agenda to Globalise MSMEs. Reaffirming its importance, we task officials to advance with updating the APEC Strategy for Green, Sustainable and Innovative MSMEs.
33. We welcome the deliberations at the APEC Women and the Economy Forum (WEF). We reaffirm our commitment to accelerate the full implementation of the La Serena Roadmap for Women and Inclusive Growth (2019-2030) to promote the empowerment of women, including women of diverse backgrounds, and advance gender equality and inclusion in our region. We recognise that the increased adoption of approaches such as the BCG Economy as well as the rise of digital platforms and education in digital literacy and skills can create additional employment pathways for all women. To this end, we emphasise the importance of gender mainstreaming through women’s full, equal and meaningful participation in all economic activities as well as in leadership at all levels and decision-making, recognising also the need to remove barriers to their economic participation and welcome the continued efforts to use a gender mainstreaming approach in relevant APEC processes. We recognise the importance of promoting and facilitating cooperation in the public and private sector to help ensure that women-led MSMEs, including those led by women of diverse backgrounds, can access capital and assets in both local and international markets.
34. While acknowledging that all segments of society can contribute to economic recovery and growth, we also recognise the need to reduce existing barriers and promote the social, economic and financial inclusion of others with untapped economic potential, such as Indigenous Peoples as appropriate, people with disabilities, and those from remote and rural communities. We call for the continued implementation of the APEC Action Agenda on Promoting Economic, Financial and Social Inclusion.
35. Our people need to be ready for the future of work in order to fully reap the benefits of technological advancements. We recognise the need to improve the quality of education as well as vocational training, advance employment and decent work, enhance reskilling and upskilling efforts, and encourage lifelong learning opportunities to create a skilled, productive and agile workforce.
36. We also reiterate the importance of achieving universal health coverage, including through health investment and health financing to build a strong and resilient health system that is supported by a competent and skilled health workforce and to advance health security, which in turn promotes economic growth and productivity. Recognising the role of extensive COVID-19 immunisation as a global public good, we strongly highlight the need to promote an equitable access to safe, effective, quality-assured and affordable COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics.
37. We welcome the Implementation Plan of the Food Security Roadmap Towards 2030, endorsed at the Seventh APEC Food Security Ministerial Meeting, for the long-term food security, food safety and improved nutrition for all, as well as for the reduction of food loss and waste in the region by sustainably and innovatively transforming food systems. We are committed to making food supply chains more resilient against disruptions. We encourage the use of STI in the agri-food sector, and will support smallholders, especially those in rural areas, to prepare for this change by equipping them with the knowledge and skills that they need, including digital technologies, while continuing to promote their access to regional and global markets.
38. We recognise the importance of efficient and sustainable management of natural resources and agricultural policies in creating positive environmental outcomes.
39. We support the sustainable management and conservation of marine and coastal resources and the protection of our oceans. We recognise the essential role of fisheries and aquaculture in ensuring global food security and therefore the need to ensure sustainability of fisheries resources. We remain committed to the implementation of the APEC Roadmap on Combatting IUU Fishing and the APEC Roadmap on Marine Debris. In this regard, we will carry out robust and effective measures based on the principles of implementing the PSMA to Prevent, Deter, and Eliminate IUU Fishing.
40. We welcome the deliberations at the Eleventh Tourism Ministers’ Meeting which highlighted the importance of regenerative tourism that is sustainable, inclusive and resilient and connects the entire tourism eco-system, one which contributes to all types of wellbeing locally, while respecting the unique biodiversity and the rich cultural diversity and local knowledge of each place. We note the Policy Recommendations for Tourism of the Future: Regenerative Tourism and the Updated APEC Guidelines for Tourism Stakeholders endorsed by the 11th TMM.
41. We welcome the deliberations at the Fifth Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Forestry. In this regard, we will continue our work in combatting illegal logging and associated trade, enhancing the sustainable use of wood and wood products, promoting sustainable forest management including legal timber trade, which also supports climate change efforts, among others.
42. We continue to highlight the serious threat posed by corruption, which undermines government accountability and public trust and impedes economic growth. To facilitate the implementation of the UN Convention against Corruption, by relevant economies, we are determined to further implement the Beijing Declaration on Fighting Corruption and the Santiago Commitment to Fight Corruption and Ensure Transparency, as well as the APEC Principles on the Prevention of Bribery and Enforcement of Anti-Bribery Law. We reaffirm our commitment to deny safe haven to corruption offenders and their illicit assets, in accordance with domestic laws, and to combat cross-border corruption. We are committed to learning from each other, taking practical action and a united approach, including through collaboration with other international organisations, the private sector and civil society, as appropriate. We reaffirm our commitment to combat cross-border corruption. We will continue to address corruption that prevents women’s empowerment and reduces their opportunities for economic development.
43. In order to advance our APEC-wide agenda on sustainability, we welcome the Bangkok Goals on BCG Economy and submit it for Leaders’ endorsement. The Bangkok Goals will support the BCG Economy as an approach to achieve an inclusive, balanced and sustainable recovery from COVID-19, long-term resilient economic growth, and environmental and climate objectives in the APEC region in a comprehensive and holistic manner, creating synergy across multiple policy areas and building on APEC’s existing commitments and workstreams. We also welcome the launch of the APEC BCG Award this year to recognise the achievements on sustainability in the region and look forward to APEC awarding the first winners next year.
44. We will further improve APEC to be an institution that is both future-oriented and fit for the purpose of implementing the Putrajaya Vision 2040, including through the Aotearoa Plan of Action. We also emphasise the importance of cross-fora collaboration, as well as engagement and outreach with various stakeholders, including the business community. We will continue our efforts to improve APEC governance and organisational structure, with a view to efficiently and effectively delivering upon all elements of the Vision. We strongly support capacity building efforts as well as economic and technical cooperation within APEC for the benefit of all members.
45. We also recognise the important role of the Policy Support Unit (PSU) in providing research and analysis to support APEC’s work. We welcome Carlos Kuriyama as the new PSU Director, effective from 1 January 2023, and thank Dr. Denis Hew for his outstanding contribution throughout his tenure.
46. We recognise and appreciate the continued active engagement of ABAC in the APEC process and call for deepening their involvement in APEC at all levels. We also acknowledge the contributions of various stakeholders throughout the year, including PECC, ASEAN, PIF, and the APEC Study Centers Consortium. We encourage additional engagement with a broader range of economic stakeholders, such as NGOs and civil society, and increased outreach to youth to reflect the breadth of the APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040.
47. We welcome and note the 2022 APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) Chair’s Report and the Senior Officials’ Report on Economic and Technical Cooperation. We endorse the Committee on Trade and Investment Annual Report to Ministers. We also note the ABAC Chair’s report. We approve the 2023 APEC Secretariat Account Budget and corresponding level of Members’ Contributions for 2023. We also thank members for their corresponding contributions including to general and specialised sub funds.
48. We thank Thailand for hosting APEC in 2022 and welcome preparations for APEC 2023, which will be hosted by the United States of America. We reiterate our welcome to Peru and the Republic of Korea as hosts of APEC 2024 and 2025, respectively. We look forward to continuing our important work in building the Asia-Pacific we aspire to become.
Source: The Pattaya News