World Insights: APEC economies pledge to promote sustainable development with adoption of Bangkok Goals

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BANGKOK, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- Leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies wrapped up their annual meeting here on Saturday after issuing a declaration and endorsing an outcome document on the Bio-Circular-Green (BCG) Economy model.

Calling the Bangkok meeting a shared success among all APEC members, Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha told a press conference that APEC must work to boost resilience and ensure a more inclusive and sustainable growth.

The declaration, adopted after the two-day APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting, affirmed APEC leaders' long-standing commitment to promoting strong, balanced, secure, sustainable and inclusive growth, as well as their commitment to realizing the APEC Putrajaya Vision of an open, dynamic, resilient and peaceful Asia-Pacific community by 2040.

The Bangkok Goals on BCG Economy, covering climate change mitigation, sustainable trade and investment, environmental conservation and waste management, is a comprehensive framework to further APEC's sustainability objectives.

This year's meeting is the first in-person gathering of the APEC economic leaders since 2018, which was held under the theme of "Open, Connect, Balance."


The Pacific Rim region has gone through various crises in the past and made itself recover quickly from the 1997 financial crisis and the 2008 global financial crisis thanks to its deep economic integration and resilient supply chains.

The Asia-Pacific, now the most dynamic growth belt in the world, has embarked on a journey of regional integration for sustainable, inclusive and resilient economic recovery in recent years.

Against the background of headwinds of rising inflation, heightened geopolitical tensions, climate change and prolonged COVID-19 pandemic, the APEC leaders pledged that they are determined to uphold and further strengthen the rules-based multilateral trading system, hailing progress this year in advancing the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP).

APEC's cooperation will contribute to practical solutions for common challenges and complement global efforts including the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the declaration said.

APEC Secretariat Executive Director Rebecca Sta Maria believed that free trade agreements are helpful for strengthening supply chains, deepening economic integration and increasing transparency and predictability in the rules.

Deep economic integration is a strength and all the regional economies should capitalize on that to get through the challenging time, Maria told Xinhua.

Home to 2.9 billion people, the 21 APEC economies account for about half of global trade and over 60 percent of the world's total gross domestic product.

Stephen Jacobi, an alternate member of the APEC Business Advisory Council and the executive director of the New Zealand International Business Forum, also highlighted the importance of deeper regional economic integration to cope with regional and global challenges.

"In these difficult times, it is vital that Asia-Pacific economies continue to push for deeper economic integration within a high-quality framework of rules," he said.

"This is a time in world history when free and open trade should be reaffirmed not reassessed. Countries and their people gain from free trade and lose from protectionism," said Craig Emerson, director of the Australian APEC Study Center at RMIT University.


The APEC leaders vowed to advance the Bangkok Goals in a bold, responsive and comprehensive manner, merging existing commitments with new aspirational ones.

"APEC explored approaches such as the BCG economy model that integrates three economic approaches, where technology and innovation are used to create value, reduce waste, advance resource efficiency and promote sustainable business models," said the Bangkok Goals.

These goals will be implemented through a conducive regulatory framework, capacity building, facility and quality infrastructure, as well as a global network, APEC 2022 Senior Officials' Meeting Chair Thani Thongphakdi told a press conference.

"There is the existential threat of climate change, which has consequences not only for the Asia-Pacific region, but also for humanity as a whole. Therefore, we must work together to mitigate its impact and protect our planet," Prayut said at the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting on Friday.

By adopting the Bangkok Goals, APEC moves forward with a plan to achieve its comprehensive and ambitious sustainability and inclusion objectives, while reinforcing and contributing to ongoing global actions.

"Sustainable development is the common pursuit of Asia-Pacific economies. We believed that the green economy and actions to cope with climate change will bring a more comprehensive, balanced and sustainable recovery in the Asia-Pacific region," said Low Kian Chuan, president of the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia.

This year's APEC meeting integrates sustainability and inclusivity objectives in tandem with economic goals. This coincides with the concept of green, balanced and sustainable development advocated by China.

At the Bangkok meeting, China called for joint efforts to build an Asia-Pacific community with a shared future. The proposal resonates with APEC's ambition of building an open, dynamic, resilient and peaceful Asia-Pacific community by 2040.

"Asia-Pacific miracle is the result of all Asia-Pacific economies' efforts to promote trade and economic integration, making the region more closely connected, thereby achieving prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region," said Low. Enditem

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