Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha of Thailand spoke at the 2020 APEC CEO Dialogues Malaysia 2020, which were streamed live on 19 November.

Below are 21 excerpts from his remarks, in which he talks about resilience against the pandemic and the challenges of the post-COVID-19 world, which Thailand will consider carefully as host of APEC in 2022. The Prime Minister also remarked on ASEAN’s place in APEC’s future.

On resilience and responding to COVID-19

  1. “The year 2020 has been a very important test for APEC. The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated lives, businesses, employment, and livelihoods. Nevertheless, APEC members, especially Malaysia, as this year’s host, have been steadfast in their cooperation to usher APEC into a new era.”  
  2. “APEC’s relevance to the world economy is based on our clear goals, spirit of cooperation, resilience and timely response to changes. As the saying goes, “We can’t direct the wind, but we can adjust our sails.”
  3. “In the current context, the COVID-19 pandemic has gravely affected health security and stability, as well as on food security and essential supplies. In response, governments have sometimes chosen policies that run counter to our long-held values of free and open trade. The need to protect our people from COVID-19 has halted connectivity and disrupted trade and investment, which are vital to growth and prosperity.”
  4. “We have to contain the spread of COVID-19 and address the short-term impacts to help our economies move forward. To this end, I applaud APEC and ASEAN for their cooperation and timely initiatives in combating COVID-19.”
  5. “We must reconnect global value chains. In the post-COVID-19 economy, we must reaffirm our commitment to the multilateral trading system, free and open trade and investment, integrated and seamless connectivity, especially the need to harness the potential of the digital economy and diversify global value chains.”
  6. “The spread of COVID-19 has exposed weaknesses in our economies, especially those sectors unable to adapt to rapid changes. At the same time, it has highlighted strengths that have helped sustain many economies in these difficult times.”
  7. “Now is the time to turn this crisis into opportunities. Each economy must re-consider their perspectives on development and prioritize strong, resilient, inclusive and sustainable growth.”

  8. On partnering with the private sector and helping small business

  9. “It is our duty, as leaders of the public and the private sectors, to ensure successful collaboration with citizens through the Public-Private-People Partnership model (PPPP) to build back a new Asia-Pacific region that is robust, resilient, and leaves no one behind.”
  10. “We must address and manage our weaknesses to build resilience and immunities for future new challenges. We, in this sense, does not refer to just the governments of APEC and ASEAN, but also includes the private sector.”
  11. “The private sector plays an important role in embracing responsible business conduct, including responsibility to society and environment as well as the promotion of a circular economy.”
  12. “Governments' initiatives are only part of the solution. The role of the private sector will be most important in re-building trust and reviving investment and employment. The APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) and the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC) can make use of their extensive networks and expertise to help jump-start the economy.”
  13. “We must pay special attention to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), women, youth and other vulnerable groups. In this regard, the public and private sectors can join hands to support them by providing them with access to capital.”

  14. On APEC, ASEAN and regional economic integration

  15. “Today, both APEC and ASEAN share the same goals of promoting growth and shared prosperity for the livelihood of all people in the region.”
  16. “At the same time, both face similar challenges that one economy cannot solve alone. These include economic recessions, pandemics and environmental degradation.”
  17. “One important lesson we can draw from the history of APEC and ASEAN is that their forward-looking vision and dynamic spirit of cooperation are key to their resilience and relevance.”
  18. “The time is ripe for us to leverage on the strengths of APEC and ASEAN to promote inclusive cooperation that is complementary in order to move forward for our mutual benefit and win-win cooperation.”
  19. “Last Sunday, the 10 ASEAN countries and five Dialogue Partners signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) making RCEP one of the world’s largest free trade agreements. The success of RCEP at this pivotal moment will reinvigorate regional economic integration and multilateral trade.”
  20. “RCEP is also a good example of an agreement that benefits all parties and can serve as a groundwork for the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific or FTAAP.”
  21. “When combined with APEC’s strengths in regulations, governance and advanced digital system, ASEAN and APEC can complement one another.”

  22. Looking forward to APEC 2022

  23. “As the host of APEC in 2022, Thailand will build-on and ensure continuity of the priorities during Malaysia’s and New Zealand’s host years.”
  24. “We will carefully consider the challenges of the post-COVID-19 world in addressing our priorities, including promotion of free and open trade and investment, and support for the multilateral trading system and regional economic integration; digital transformation; inclusive and sustainable growth, including responsible business conduct, environmental conservation, governance and access to funding; well-being, and food security and agriculture.”