23 May 2024

APEC ministers have agreed a joint statement, described by a senior Thai official as the first such document issued for an APEC Summit with Thailand as the host.

Cherdchai Chaivaivid, director-general of the Department of International Economic Affairs, said today (Saturday) that APEC economic ministers and senior officials worked very hard on the draft joint statement, until it was agreed and released late last night.

The statement incorporates a post-COVID pandemic economic growth strategy, which addresses environmental and climate issues, the war in Ukraine and the cooperation between APEC’s 21 economies in pushing for the creation of a free trade area for the Asia-Pacific region, or FTA-AP, to replace the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

On the war in Ukraine, the joint statement reads:

“Most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine and stressed it is causing immense human suffering and exacerbating existing fragilities in the global economy, constraining growth, increasing inflation, disrupting supply chains, heightening energy and food insecurity and elevating financial stability risks.”

It also says, however:

“There were other views and different assessments of the situation and sanctions.”

North Korea’s launch of a ballistic missile on Friday drew the attention of the leaders at the summit, with Japan, US, South Korea, Canada, Australia and New Zealand publically deploring the action by Pyongyang. An emergency meeting was held yesterday, at the request of US Vice President Kamala Harris.

APEC leaders met for the last time for this summit today and it is expected that a leaders’ declaration will be issued at the summit’s conclusion.

The Thai government expects that its “Bangkok Goals” on the Bio-Circular-Green economy concept will be adopted and incorporated in the leaders’ declaration today.

According to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, the Bangkok Goals constitute a post-COVID pandemic growth strategy to move APEC economies towards balanced, sustainable and inclusive development and growth.