Media release, 1 December 2020
As New Zealand assumes the role of Chair of APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation) for 2021, Rachel Taulelei also takes over the role of Chair of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC).
“This is a unique opportunity for New Zealand business to help shape the economic direction of the Asia Pacific region at a time of crisis and recovery”, says Rachel Taulelei who serves as CEO of Māori food and beverage exporter Kono.
ABAC is the voice of business in APEC. ABAC’s 63 Members, drawn from APEC’s 21 member economies, provide advice and recommendations to APEC Leaders, Ministers and senior officials. A highlight is the annual ABAC Dialogue when ABAC Members meet directly with APEC Economic Leaders to present and discuss their annual report.
“ABAC’s role is unique in terms of the access we have to those making decisions about the region’s future. In 2021, when all meetings will be held virtually, it will be up to us to adapt our processes and lead a work programme that speaks to the region’s urgent need for resilient, sustainable and inclusive growth. That’s no mean feat but my colleagues and I are up for the challenge”.
New Zealand’s current ABAC Members are Rachel Taulelei, Malcolm Johns, CEO, Christchurch Airport and Toni Moyes, Head of International, Sharesies. Due to a recent change in role Toni Moyes is departing ABAC at the end of this year and the Prime Minister is expected to appoint a successor.
Rachel Taulelei says New Zealand has adopted the theme of “People, Place and Prosperity – Tāngata, Taiao me te Taurikura” to guide its work next year.
“We will want to look beyond the current health crisis and focus on what is needed to get the global economy moving again. People and communities – especially those often left out of the equation like women and indigenous communities – need to be at the heart of this agenda. We must safeguard the future and advance the well-being of all in our region. We want to think about how we as businesses can show leadership on climate change and sustainability as well as what is needed right now for us to do business successfully and seamlessly in the Asia Pacific region, leveraging the wealth of opportunities from digital transformation.”
ABAC’s Members are advised by an executive team led by Stephen Jacobi and Stephanie Honey of the NZ International Business Forum (NZIBF). In 2021 Stephen Jacobi assumes the role of Executive Director of ABAC, supported by a Secretariat based in Manila.