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Asia-Pacific Business Leaders Rally for Robust Global Trade Amid Rising Protectionism

APEC Business Advisory Council Hong Kong, China | 25 April 2024

2024 ABAC 2

This week in Hong Kong, China, the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) voiced serious concerns regarding the global shift towards protectionism and regional fragmentation, risking decades of economic progress.

ABAC Chair for 2024, Julia Torreblanca of Peru, emphasized that continued commitment to collaboration, open markets and non-discrimination is crucial to the region’s prosperity.

"These policies have driven the success of our economies. APEC must stay the course on deeper economic integration to avoid undermining inclusive and sustainable growth,” she stated.

“Guided by our theme of “People. Business. Prosperity”, we have developed a set of recommendations to address these urgent issues," said Torreblanca. "These recommendations cover the strengthening the WTO, revitalizing the strategy for the Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP), advancing digital trade, bolstering the resilience of global supply chain, establishing a greener trade policy framework to tackle the climate crisis and empowering women in trade."

“We will present these recommendations to Ministers Responsible for Trade when they meet next month in Arequipa, Peru.”

The ABAC Chair noted that a delegation met WTO’s Director General in a recent ABAC visit to Geneva to convey its support for the WTO and ambitious reforms.

“We are particularly worried at the prospect of WTO Members agreeing to end the e-commerce moratorium and tariffs on digital trade," Torreblanca added. "This will hugely increase uncertainty and costs, which will hit small businesses the hardest.”

On women’s economic empowerment, ABAC has developed recommendations that include promoting women’s transition to the formal economy, unlocking women’s access to venture capital and promoting STEM careers and digital skills, including to boost women’s participation in green trade. ABAC applauded the first joint meeting between APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade and Ministers for Women that will take place in May.

“We are deeply grateful to the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region for their support in hosting this meeting. We were honored by the presence of Chief Executive John Lee who expressed his support for the work of ABAC during his speech at the welcome dinner. We specially thank Financial Secretary Paul Chan, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Algernon Yau, Hong Kong Monetary Authority Chief Executive Eddie Yue, and Under Secretary for Innovation, Technology and Industry Lillian Cheong for sharing with us their valuable insights.”

ABAC will convene its next meeting in early August in Tokyo, Japan as it works to finalize its recommendations for presentation to APEC leaders during the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in November.


For further information please contact: 

Luciano Parades (Mr), ABAC Executive Director 2024, +51 997 587 486 at [email protected]
Antonio Basilio (Mr), ABAC Secretariat, + 63 917 849 3351 at [email protected]

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