The Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP) remains the preeminent economic priority for the Asia-Pacific business community.
Remarks by ABAC Chair Rachel Taulelei to APEC Senior Officials, 11/12 March 2021
APEC BUSINESS ADVISORY COUNCIL, APEC SENIOR OFFICIALS’ MEETING, 11/12 MARCH 2021
REMARKS FROM RACHEL TAULELEI, ABAC CHAIR
E ngā mana, e ngā reo, rau rangatira mā, tena koutou katoa.
It’s a pleasure to join with you at your plenary meeting after the very successful ABAC-SOM Dialogue which we held this week.
My thanks to Vangelis Vitalis for this invitation and to you all for your close interest in ABAC’s work.
Since our time is limited, allow me to highlight a number of key issues before us this year.
I’d like to mention the pandemic, the Vision, trade architecture, climate change and inclusion.
These are all key concerns for ABAC as we pursue our theme this year of “People, Place and Prosperity/ Tāngata, Taiao me te Taurikura” .
Covid 19 remains the most pressing, top of mind issue.
While growing vaccination rates give us some renewed hope, many communities and businesses around the region continue to suffer.
ABAC will continue to play close attention this year to finding ways to mitigate the worst effects of the pandemic on MSMEs in particular, to preparing for the recovery and to helping develop a safe and seamless framework for border reopening .
We are very concerned about the spread of vaccine nationalism and urge you to lead an APEC initiative in the WTO to eliminate tariffs, non-tariff barriers and export restrictions on essential medical supplies and associated services.
We welcome APEC’s Vision to 2040 but all businesses know that a vision without a plan is a passing thought.
The Implementation Plan is of key interest to ABAC: we want it to lay out specific, concrete deliverables for action across all the pillars of the vision and to include items for early harvest as well as dates for review and refresh.
Twenty years is a long time – too long to wait for the key elements of the Vision to be achieved: action needs to start even this year, banking progress where we can.
We are glad the Vision includes references to strengthening the WTO and making progress towards FTAAP.
With a new Director-General in Geneva and a renewed willingness on the part of major economies to engage, there is no better time to return the WTO to its pre-eminent position as a forum for liberalising trade and enforcing effective trade rules.
You can expect from ABAC this year another forthright declaration of support for the WTO and a renewed interest in engaging with the APEC Caucus in Geneva particularly in the lead up to MC12.
FTAAP should be at the heart of the APEC Vision; it takes on even greater importance in the post-Covid world.
Our conception of FTAAP has had to evolve since we first articulated the concept way back in 2004: today we understand FTAAP as more of a journey than a destination.
But what better way to mark the ultimate conclusion of the Asia Pacific Community than to declare that FTAAP has become a reality through a mix of convergence among the negotiating pathways and a score of other unilateral and multilateral actions on the part of APEC Members.
But then again, we simply can’t wait another twenty years : it simply must be achieved sooner.
In the meantime, we need to redouble our efforts to finalise the few outstanding areas of unfinished business from the Bogor Goals including in relation to agriculture, services and investment as well as continuing to find ways to make supply chains work faster and better.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern calls climate change the defining issue of this generation and many of our businesses agree with her.
I know some will point to the difficulties on attaining consensus on climate change in a diverse forum such as APEC, but I ask you, if not us, then who?
ABAC believes we need to raise the level of urgency and this year we will be spending time developing some principles for the way businesses might react to the challenge of addressing climate change as well as what is needed to facilitate trade and investment in renewable energy and associated services and technologies.
Prime Minister Ardern has another favourite saying – he waka eke noa – we are all in the boat together – nowhere is this more true than in respect of climate change.
Lastly, I come to inclusion which, for me, as Maori woman leading a medium-sized business is a matter of the heart.
APEC has done some good work over the years on MSMEs but this needs sharpening in the light of Covid.
We could usefully extend our ambition in respect of women, especially when we come review the La Serena Roadmap.
Thus far the needs and aspirations of the region’s 270 million indigenous people, many of whom also live in rural areas, have hardly been touched and it is a priority of ours to address this.
Digitisation has a role to play in respect of these communities and more broadly in APEC and will be a key focus for us this year, which started with the ABAC Digital Forum led by our Canadian colleagues this week.
Colleagues, these are perilous and worrying times and they demand that this organisation and each one of us lift our sights and lift our game.
This is not a time for business as usual – it is business as unusual.
The Māori people have a saying – “ka pū te ruha, ka hao te rangatahi”.
The old net has been put away; a new net has gone fishing.
Now is the time to throw that new net very wide indeed !
REGISTER WITH TRADE WORKS
Register to stay up to date with latest news, as well as saving and discussing articles you’re interested in.
ABAC NEW ZEALAND REMARKS TO ABAC-MINISTERS RESPONSIBLE FOR TRADE DIALOGUE 21 MAY 2022 RACHEL TAULELEI ABAC NZ Chair, Ministers The Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP) remains the preeminent economic priority for the Asia-Pacific business community. It...
Deepening ECONOMIC INTEGRATION and EQUIPPING BUSINESS FOR DYNAMIC, INCLUSIVE and SUSTAINABLE GROWTH ARE KEY to ECONOMIC RECOVERY, say business leaders
Vancouver, 28 April 2022 –Asia-Pacific business leaders in the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), meeting this week in Vancouver, affirmed their determination to continue to work closely together to respond to the challenge of sustaining the region’s growth...
The US idea of an Indo Pacific Framework (IPEF) continues to gain traction but is not without complication. Aotearoa-New Zealand is a great joiner - from the very beginning of the United Nations to the important economic institutions like the WTO, APEC, CPTPP and...
NZ INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS FORUM REMARKS TO THE FOREIGN AFFAIRS, DEFENCE AND TRADE COMMITTEE INTERNATIONAL TREATY EXAMINATION OF THE NZ/UK FREE TRADE AGREEMENT 17 MARCH 2022 STEPHEN JACOBI EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Madam Chair, Members of the Committee Thank you for the...
INTERNATIONAL TREATY EXAMINATION OF THENEW ZEALAND UNITED KINGDOM FREE TRADE AGREEMENT MARCH 2022 Introduction and Summary 1. This submission is made on behalf of the New Zealand International Business Forum (NZIBF) whose members are listed at Annex A 1 . NZIBF is a...
The NZ International Business Forum (NZIBF) has commended Parliament’s bipartisan Russia Sanctions legislation, targeting those involved in the invasion of Ukraine. “Tough times call for tough measures and this legislation is an appropriate response from New Zealand...
APEC BUSINESS ADVISORY COUNCIL ADDRESS TO GS1 RETAIL PLENARY25 FEBRUARY 2022 RACHEL TAULELEIABAC NZ HOW IDENTIFICATION AND TRUST ARE NEEDED TO ENABLE CROSS-BORDER TRADE E ngā mana, e ngā reo, rau rangatira mā, tēnā koutou katoa. It is a pleasure to be taking...
Will the NZ/EU FTA ever be finished, asks Stephen Jacobi. In the Monty Python film, “Life of Brian”, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount is poorly heard by some of the crowd, but the message is passed on: “Blessed be the cheese makers”. Two thousand years later cheesemakers...
The conclusion of the NZ UK Free Trade Agreement is a historic moment for NZ’s trade, says the NZ International Business Forum. “This new free trade agreement, negotiated and concluded in record time, delivers unprecedented access to the UK market and sets the stage...
APEC NEWS RELEASE Issued byThe APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) Embracing challenges, engaging collectively and enabling opportunities are key to Asia-Pacific success, say business leaders Singapore, 18 February 2022 – Asia-Pacific business leaders in the APEC...
Indigenous business leaders from the APEC region contributed to the first-ever ABAC Indigenous Dialogue in July 2021. Carrie Stoddart-Smith imagines the wealth and well being Indigenous peoples could bring to international trade, if the opportunity is seized....
The NZIBF Board meets with Indian High Commissioner H E Muktesh Paredeshi at its last meeting for 2021.ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 15 DECEMBER 2021 CHAIR’S REPORT I am pleased to present my first report on the activities and achievements of the NZ International Business...
In another year of disruption and loss there have been some surprising wins for trade. The kindest thing that could be said about 2021 is that things didn’t quite work out as planned. We did not defeat the pandemic and lives and livelihoods continued to be lost....
A little breathing room at the WTO The emergence of Omicron has meant that the WTO Ministerial Conference has been put on hold – leaving in limbo key decisions about pandemic trade responses and fish subsidies (not to mention agriculture). But there is some good...
22 November 2021 Hon Damien O’ConnorMinister of Trade and Export GrowthWELLINGTON Dear Minister As you and your colleagues prepare to gather in Geneva, we write this open letter to express the strong support of the New Zealand business community for ambitious...