Bangkok Post | 20 November 2022
Apec hails progress on free-trade area
All 21 leaders from Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) member
countries and economic zones have decided to push the Free Trade Area of
the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), a regional economic integration.
The resolution is one of 23 items agreed in the 2022 Apec Leader’s
Declaration on Sunday, as the 29th Apec summit in Bangkok closed.
Thailand passes the baton to the United States as host of the Apec next
All Apec leaders recognised the useful contributions of the Lima
Declaration and the Beijing Roadmap in progressing the FTAAP agenda,
the declaration said.
"We welcome the advancement of this agenda this year through a
refreshed conversation on the FTAAP in the Covid-19 pandemic and
"We will continue to build on this momentum towards high quality and
comprehensive regional undertakings through the FTAAP Agenda Work
Plan. We task officials to report progress in carrying out the Work Plan to
the Apec Ministerial Meeting (AMM) in the following years.
"At the same time, we will strengthen our engagement with stakeholders,
including the Apec Business Advisory Council (Abac) and increase public-
private sector dialogues.
"We note with appreciation of Abac’s recommendations in advancing the
FTAAP Work Programs.
"We commend the public and private sector collaboration between the
Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT) and Abac, which underscores
Apec’s emphasis on advancing an inclusive economic development.
"We will also continue our efforts in capacity building to improve trade
negotiation skills of economies," the declaration said.
Government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri said on Friday Thailand
had put forward FTAAP at the Apec Economic Leaders’ Meeting to push
regional trade and support the multilateral trading system.
He said Thailand also proposed the FTAAP 4-year workplan (2023-2026)
which incorporates shared interests among Apec member economies, such
as traditional trade, emerging trade, and the economic recovery.
FTAAP aims to promote trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific,
minimise trade and investment obstacles, enhance the competitiveness of
Apec economies, and narrow the gap between Apec members in different
stages of development.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said the government also touted its bio-
circular-green (BCG) economic model and fulfillment of the overarching
theme of "Open. Connect. Balance."
At the conclusion of the two-day summit yesterday, Gen Prayut conveyed
his gratitude to Their Majesties the King and Queen for granting an
audience to the Apec leaders at the Grand Palace.
He said the 29th Apec summit was a tremendous success for all member
countries, which worked collectively for the growth and future of the Asia-
Thailand welcomed more than 5,000 leaders, delegates and media crew
covering the summit.
It marks the first time in four years that the leaders have met face-to-face
in the Apec context following the pandemic.
Two special guests of the government, who are from non-Apec member
countries, also turned up for the summit: French President Emmanuel
Macron and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister, Mohammed
bin Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud.
The Apec leaders held talks with the private sector and the Apec Business
Gen Prayut also received input from the Apec Voices of the Future, a
platform for "Youth Voice" held on the margins of the Apec Leaders’
The summit also raised for discussion the global nuclear threat. As host of
the summit, Thailand expressed concern about its ramifications, especially
on the economy.
Thailand stands ready to work closely with other countries in resolving the
issue, Gen Prayut said.
The BCG model economy is being driven under the theme of "Open.
Connect. Balance," which is producing results, he said.