Thailand to push for 'more open' trade
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Thailand to push for 'more open' trade

Thailand is committed to helping the region regain its former economic strength after the Covid-19 crisis by promoting a more open approach to trade, investment, and connectivity, said permanent secretary for foreign affairs Thani Thongphakdi.

At a virtual briefing after Apec Leaders' Week 2021, Mr Thani said "Open. Connect. Balance." has been chosen as the theme for next year's Apec summits, which Thailand will chair.

The motto embraces the bio-circular-green economy (BCG) as an overarching guideline, he said. "Thailand's host year will focus on charting a post-Covid-19 future for the Asia-Pacific region," he added. "As Apec moves forward from these health and economic crises, we need to promote long-term growth that is resilient, inclusive, balanced and sustainable."

He said trade and investment have always been the core objectives of Apec, so charting a sustainable path to recovery requires rethinking approaches to these two pillars. Thailand has also suggested restarting talks to realise the Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP) after the pandemic is brought under control, Mr Thani said.

This would address such issues as making supply chains more resilient, and ensuring the inclusive and sustainable development of emerging trade-related issues like climate change and the digital economy, he said.

Thailand will further Apec's efforts to ease the safe movement of people across borders, starting with essential workers including air and maritime crews, he said. "Emphasis will be given to developing an Apec travel protocol," he said.

"We aim to work towards enhancing interoperability, consider mutual recognition of vaccine certificates, and provide a platform for exchanging information and best practices."

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