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What to Look Out for in APEC 2022


APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) 2022 Conference commences today! This marks the third time Thailand has hosted the event and the first in-person APEC since the pandemic began. There will be various talks, panel discussions, and conferences on numerous topics, ranging from the economy to healthcare and agriculture to tourism. As a significant portion of these critical talks will directly influence regional policies in years to come, businesses will find it beneficial to understand the essential APEC 2022 themes.


AFTER-PANDEMIC ECONOMIC RECOVERY

With the effect of the pandemic still being felt by many attending nations, APEC 2022 devotes a substantial portion to the after-COVID recovery. Topics of discussion include SMEs recovery, sustainable finance to create a BCG (Bio-Circular-Green) economy, and digitization. APEC sees the importance of SMEs (which constitute 90% of all the world’s companies) in propelling the economy and notes the appalling rate of SME closure when the pandemic hit. The conference will discuss support systems, such as accessible loans, technical expertise, and easier-to-navigate regulatory barriers. Regarding sustainable finance, APEC 2022 will discuss ways central banks can utilize a targeted green loans mechanism, which only lends to organizations operating sustainably within the BCG economy framework. At the same time, endorsing digitization through Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) and increasing public sector investment in infrastructure will be discussed. This will help bridge the communication gap in the region, allowing people to access digital technology that enriches their lives.


For businesses, all these mean that if their stakeholders involves SMEs, benefits and relief efforts could be expected due to the coming talks in APEC. Also, if the companies run a sustainable operation, they might gain more financial assistance from the BCG loan scheme. Finally, for digital and IT businesses, more cooperation with the governments could increase the quest to improve digitization for all in the Asia-Pacific region.


INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENT

To facilitate economic growth and the improvement of people’s lives after the pandemic, various proposals about health infrastructure and trading networks will be discussed in the coming days. “Balancing Health and Economy” is one of the vital session themes, and the main topic will be “Improving healthcare via digital transformation.” This is so that health impacts on the economy (what happened back when the pandemic started) can be minimized. One such digitization APEC 2022 intends to push through is a vaccine database, which verifies the vaccination status of all people in the region. Apart from this, there will also be talks on creating trade networks using the “APEC travel card.” The program will allow holders to gain benefits equal to a diplomatic passport (such as shorter immigration processing time and relaxed visa requirements) when entering APEC member countries. This is to facilitate essential travel and streamline high-level trade deals within the region to enlarge the economic pie.


Regional businesses can expect attention and funding to be diverted more to developing healthcare and leveraging technology to improve people’s lives. Companies operating in the technology, healthcare, or IT sectors should keep an eye out for more cooperation with the public sector in the coming months. Apart from that, CEOs can count on more convenient means of international transportation if the proposal passes.


While AEPC 2022’s themes are all-encompassing, these are some critical areas of which business leaders should be aware. As the conference focuses on corrective (economic recovery) and preventive measures (healthcare improvement, digitization, trade promotion), CEOs who have navigated their company out of the pandemic and are now facing recession will find it beneficial to keep tabs on how APEC unfolds.


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