Director of Alpha Pacific Group, Gleb Zoubov attended the 1st ABAC meeting of 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand.
Sharing the benefits of growth and embracing the digital economy were key themes for senior
Asia-Pacific business leaders meeting in Auckland, New Zealand this week.
At its first of four meetings for 2018, the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) welcomed
the forecasts for strong regional growth, noting the IMF prediction that Asia-Pacific GDP would
expand by 5.4% this year, far outstripping the rate of 2% in advanced economies.
“Growth is clearly an essential but not a sufficient condition for secure and prosperous
communities,” said ABAC Chair for 2018, David Toua. “We need to look closely at our
economies’ policies to ensure that people can actually take advantage of the opportunities that
growth brings. Harnessing inclusive opportunities is a key mantra for this year,” added Mr
Mr Toua explained that a second big focus was the digital economy. “We have created a new
working group to focus specifically on digital and innovation issues,” Mr Toua explained. “The
digital economy is growing exponentially. We are seeing a surge of disruptive business models.
Even in traditional sectors like agriculture and manufacturing, innovative technologies, digital
services, fintech and e-commerce are now central.
“Importantly, the digital economy provides a springboard for small business, women and other
disadvantaged groups to take part in trade and connect around the region.
“But we cannot realise the full potential of a ‘Digital Asia-Pacific’ without putting resources and
energy into countering the digital divide that risks leaving the most vulnerable behind. In all
economies, we also need to nurture a future-ready workforce. That means putting in place the
right settings for digital infrastructure, skills and education, and region-wide digital business
friendly regulation,” said Mr Toua.
ABAC members had welcomed the recent conclusion of the Comprehensive and Progressive
Trans-Pacific Partnership by 11 APEC economies, Mr. Toua noted that “the agreement was seen
as one of the key ‘pathways’ to an eventual integrated Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific.”
Other priorities discussed included improving connectivity; structural reform especially in the
services sector; reducing trade and investment barriers; facilitating creating opportunities for
micro, small and medium enterprises; strengthening financial systems, and grappling with issues
around sustainable growth such as food and energy security. “Big strategic considerations we
will look at include ‘smarter globalisation’ so that the benefits are more widely shared in terms of
jobs and living standards, and our ‘Vision’ for the region in the coming decades,” said Toua.
“Our Auckland meeting was also the occasion for our annual Dialogue with APEC Senior
Officials. We had extended discussions including on the APEC Post 2020 Vision which will
help both sides to develop robust policy approaches on all our key issues for the period ahead,”
concluded Chairman Toua.
Source: ABAC Secretariat, 2018