Building a sustainable and inclusive future in turbulent times

by | Jul 30, 2018 | Trade In The News


Senior business leaders from around the Asia-Pacific, meeting in Kuala Lumpur this week, expressed deep concern about the risks to continued prosperity from the current turbulent trade and economic environment.

“The storm clouds of trade war and protectionism are gathering,” said David Toua, Chair of the APEC Business Advisory Council.  “After a period in the doldrums, we had finally been seeing more buoyant growth around the world.   But the destructive forces of protectionism and unilateralism are a real threat to that trend.”

Mr. Toua noted that the IMF was forecasting global GDP to expand by 3.9% in 2018, but that it has also identified a rise in trade tensions as a significant downside risk.

“We have given a strong message to APEC Economic Leaders in our annual Report about our support for the global rules-based trading system and the value we place on pressing ahead towards a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific.  These are fundamental to ensuring that our region will be seamless, dynamic, resilient and sustainable – and a place where everyone can enjoy the opportunities and benefits of regional economic integration,” said Mr. Toua.

“Trade barriers hurt jobs especially those in SMEs participating in Global Value Chains (GVCs), and it hurts our communities and environment.  Open and connected markets are not just better for business – they have advanced communities globally.  We need to focus on reaching win-win outcomes.”

He added that a further core message to Leaders was around the importance of fully leveraging the digital age.  “That means a future-ready workforce, infrastructure, and the right policy settings to ensure data flows, privacy and security, while not leaving some economies behind.”

Mr. Toua said that the Council had also finalised letters to APEC Ministers for Finance, Energy and SMEs.

On energy, Mr. Toua said that ABAC was committed to helping to realise the UN Sustainable Development Goal of access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.  “That demands a focus on improving energy infrastructure, shifting towards low-carbon and renewable energy, and tackling climate change,” he said.

“On finance, we recognise the central role that FinTech plays in the digital economy, and accordingly we have stressed the importance of coordination on policy, regulatory and institutional settings in that area,” Mr. Toua added.  “As well, the vast infrastructure needs in the APEC region should be an urgent focus for investment and regulatory reform.”

Mr. Toua added that empowering micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and women remained a major priority.  “It is critical that MSMEs, including women-led MSMEs, are able to realise their full potential – whether operating domestically or internationally.  That requires access to finance and the digital economy, reducing structural impediments and trade barriers such as NTBs,” said Mr. Toua.

“There also needs to be an emphasis on the development of future-ready skills, more broadly throughout economies such as STEM education, and the right mindset in business and society that encourages and enables equal economic participation, including diversity in leadership roles.   Without addressing these needs, we will struggle to deliver truly inclusive and sustainable growth,” concluded Mr. Toua.

Read the original report from ABAC here


Register to stay up to date with latest news, as well as saving and discussing articles you’re interested in.




Latest News

NZIBF 2022 Chair Report

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 2022 CHAIR’S REPORT I am pleased to present my second report on the activities and achievements of the NZ International Business Forum (NZIBF) for 2022-23, our fifteenth year of operations.  At the outset I would like to thank Members for...


New Zealand business will be represented at the APEC Leaders’ Week in Bangkok, commencing 13 November, by members of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). New Zealand’s three members – Rachel Taulelei, Malcolm Johns and Anna Curzon – supported by Stephen Jacobi...

Submission to MFAT for CPTPP Review

30 September 2022 Phil Mellor Economic Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Wellington (By email) Dear Phil, Thank you for your email of 1 September, seeking our comments on the three year review of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans...


The now widespread use of the term “Indo Pacific” to describe the region to which New Zealand belongs brings a risk of geographical confusion. When did the “Asia Pacific” become the Indo Pacific?   For thirty years or more New Zealand has sought to enhance...

NZ Herald: Turbulence in global trade

Amidst the political topsy turvy of recent weeks came the news that the Government has refreshed its Trade Recovery Strategy.  That’s good news because, for exporters and the global economy as a whole, it’s tough out there. The pandemic is by no means over, there...

Address to World Affairs Forum, 22 August 2022

ADDRESS TO THE WORLD AFFAIRS FORUM AUCKLAND, 22 AUGUST 2022 STEPHEN JACOBI EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR NZ INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS FORUM TURBULENCE IN GLOBAL TRADE Thanks to Greg Thwaite for inviting me to speak to you this evening. It’s good to be back in the habit of meeting...

Trade and Climate Change: State of Play

TRADE AND CLIMATE CHANGE: STATE OF PLAY. A discussion paper prepared for the NZIBF by Adrian Macey, June 2022. Download here. Update: NZ-EU FTA The NZ-EU FTA has been finalised.  Article X.6 of the  trade and sustainable development chapter is on trade and...