18 Nov 2020
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs called for building inclusive, resilient, sustainable and innovative future for Asia-Pacific by supporting MSMEs, women and youth, re-skilling and upskilling for New Normal and DigitalEconomy, promoting responsible business conduct and partnership for sustainability as well as highlighting the cooperation on COVID-19 vaccines and medicines at the 31st APEC Ministerial Meeting (AMM).
On 16 November 2020, H.E. Mr. Don Pramudwinai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, and H.E. Dr. Sansern Samalapa, Vice Minister for Commerce, participated in the 31st APEC Ministerial Meeting (AMM) via video conference in preparation for the 27th APEC Economic Leaders’s Meeting (AELM) on 20 November 2020.
The Meeting emphasised the importance of a free, open, fair, non-discriminatory, transparent and predictable trade and investment environment to advance growth and shared prosperity for the region. Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Meeting reaffirmed the importance of a rules-based multilateral trading system that is pivotal to maintaining a healthy supply chain of essential goods, especially food, medicines, vaccines and medical supplies. The Meeting welcomed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) that was signed last week on 15 November 2020, which sent a positive signal, reaffirmed the commitment to economic integration and marked a shift away from the rise of protectionism.
The Meeting agreed that the regional economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic must transpire in a strong, inclusive, sustainable, and resilient manner by capitalising on innovation, digital economy, and structural reform. This is to create enabling environments for trade and investment while ensuring that Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), women and other vulnerable groups are effectively integrated into the global value chains and the ever-growing digital economy. These issues are encapsulated in the APEC Post-2020 Vision that will be endorsed by the APEC leaders during the 27th APEC Economic Leaders Meeting (AELM) on 20 November 2020. The Vision will guide the future direction of APEC for the next 20 years.
During the Meeting, Thailand addressed four main issues as follows: (1) the future of Asia-Pacific that embraces innovations, resilience and ability to adapt quickly to changes (2) the support for a rules-based multilateral trading system and the effectiveness of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) (3) creating a future that is inclusive, resilient, sustainable and ready for the digital age, while giving special attention to MSMEs, service workers, women and youth through financial inclusion and skills and capacity development to ensure a smooth transition to the new normal that is geared towards digitalised business environment, bio-, circular and green economy (BCG Model), underscored by responsible business conduct and (4) mobility of people and essential goods during the COVID-19 pandemic, while calling for APEC to cooperate on ensuring the availability of COVID-19 vaccines and medicines that is timely, accessible and affordable.
The APEC Ministers also endorsed the 31st APEC Joint Ministerial Statement that underlined the importance of trade and investment, economic recovery and regional cooperation in the post-COVID-19 era, transition to digital economy, structural reforms and cooperation towards inclusive and sustainable growth.