The 21 economies that make up the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC), which include Russia, China and the United States, agreed this Saturday in Bangkok to bet on free trade and the maintenance of supply chains in full interruptions. by the war in Ukraine and the effects of the pandemic.
In a consensual document, which refers to the war in Ukraine and its effects on the economy, the APEC leaders – who met in person for the first time in four years – highlighted the “fundamental and indispensable role” of trade and investment among the nations of the bloc to deal with “global problems”, among which the health crisis stands out.
“We reaffirm our determination to offer a free, open, fair, non-discriminatory, transparent, inclusive and predictable trade and investment environment,” the text states at a time when the US and China are ironing out differences after a time of geopolitical and commercial tension. due to the imposition of tariffs and restrictions.
The group also pledged to “keep markets open to manage supply chain disruptions,” altered by the war in Ukraine and the effects of the pandemic, including China’s border closure due to its zero covid policy.
APEC, which accounts for about 60% of world GDP and nearly half of global trade, recognizes that international trade “facilitates global economic recovery” by helping to grow prosperity and reduce poverty.
For this reason, the leaders, meeting in the Thai capital between Friday and Saturday, agreed to maintain “the momentum” with the aim of advancing towards the creation of the Free Trade Agreement in the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), which would mean the zone of largest free trade in the world.
To curb the risk caused by rising inflation, at historical levels and which affects all the countries of the bloc, APEC prescribes macroeconomic and structural policies, in addition to calling for sustainable financing.
The geopolitical tension between various members of the forum – which includes Russia – raised fears that the leaders’ summit would end without a consensual declaration.
However, the intense negotiations behind the scenes – which took as reference the document published on Wednesday by the G20 – managed to avoid Moscow’s veto on references to the war in Ukraine, a constant during the Thai presidency.
The conflict in Europe and its repercussions on the economy has been one of the prominent topics during this forum, which focuses mainly on economic aspects, and which was also overshadowed on Friday by the launch by North Korea of an intercontinental missile that fell near Japan.
In addition to the declaration of leaders, the 21 economies also approved a text to promote sustainable growth in the face of the climate crisis, dubbed the “Bangkok Goals.”
These objectives, according to the document published by consensus by the leaders, seek to promote the Bio-Circular-Green Economy Model (BCG) and promote “strong, balanced, safe, sustainable and inclusive growth” in the region.
It also provides for the development of an ambitious plan to achieve its sustainable goals in a “bold, responsive and comprehensive” way, while also addressing “the greatest economic and environmental challenges” facing the Asia-Pacific.
Founded in 1989, APEC is made up of Australia, Brunei, Canada, China, Chile, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, South Korea, the United States, and the United States. Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.