Ministry to host Apec trade talks

Ministry to host Apec trade talks

Open economies, FTAAP on agenda

The Commerce Ministry is set to host Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) trade ministers in Bangkok, with renewed talks on the long-delayed Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) and open economies topping the agenda.

Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit is scheduled to chair the Apec Ministers Responsible for Trade meeting 2022 (MRT) in Bangkok during May 19-22, with a free trade deal to help the region recover from the pandemic one of the top priorities.

FTAAP involves the 21 Pacific Rim nations that are part of Apec, a forum created in 1989 to promote free trade in Asia-Pacific.

FTAAP first appeared in the joint statement of Apec trade ministers in 2008. It was again a topic in November 2021 in Apec's Putrajaya Vision 2040 implementation plan.

To achieve the vision, Apec set out three economic drivers -- trade and investment, innovation and digitalisation -- as well as strong, balanced, secure, sustainable and inclusive growth.

The Apec member economies reaffirmed their support for the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in delivering a functioning multilateral trading system and promoting the stability and predictability of international trade flows.

According to Trade Negotiations Department director-general Auramon Supthaweethum, the MRT meeting will exchange opinions and perspectives on how FTAAP can be a tool for rapid economic recovery in a new trade system.

"The forum will offer a good opportunity to discuss FTAAP among trade ministers and for the Apec Business Advisory Council to brainstorm the possibility of speeding up FTAAP approval among the 21 Apec members," said Mrs Auramon.

The WTO director-general is scheduled to attend online meetings for discussions on dealing with Covid-19 trade obstacles.

The meeting is also expected to address using trade policies as a tool to create comprehensive and sustainable economic growth.

On May 20, the Apec BCG Symposium 2022 on the bio-, circular, and green economy is scheduled to discuss proposals to promote micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises in the BCG economy to encourage environmental friendliness and innovation as well as add value to products and services.

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