Seize opportunities in digital and green economies, Gan urges businesses


Minster for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong (centre in red tie) as he prepares to address the ABAC delegates. To Mr Gan’s right is Mr Areepong Bhoo-chaoom, ABAC Executive Director 2022 and to his left, Mr Supant Mongkolsuthree, ABAC Chair 2022.


ECONOMIES and businesses should seize growth prospects in the digital and green economies even as the focus remains on reopening borders safely and maintaining supply chain resilience.


Within the digital economy space, there are many areas to consider to improve business to business connectivity within the region, noted Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong.


These include fair and secure access to data, freer cross-border data flows, enhancing participation in the digital economy, and strengthening multilateral cooperation to leverage digital technologies for sustainable development.


Gan was speaking at the Apec Business Advisory Council Meeting (ABAC) on Feb 16 where he was the guest of honour. About 200 delegates from the 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) economies attended the meeting at Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore.


He noted that the digital economy agreements signed, such as the Digital Economy Agreement between Singapore and Australia, and the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement among Chile, New Zealand and Singapore, provide useful reference points on the common rules and interoperable standards for digital trade.


More recently, the UK-Singapore and Korea-Singapore agreements were also concluded.


"I encourage ABAC members to tap on these agreements to improve business to business connectivity within the region," said Gan.


On the green economy front, the acceleration of global climate action has opened up opportunities in the green economy such as green finance, renewable energy and low-carbon solutions.


This, he said, is a "global priority and collective responsibility", requiring collaboration at all levels.


Separately, while businesses can take place virtually, nothing can replace in-person interactions to build relationships and trust, said Gan, adding that ABAC's efforts last year on the Taskforce on Reopening Borders for Safe and Seamless Travel have added value to the conversations at Apec, and "positively contributed" to the establishment of the Apec Safe Passage Taskforce under Thailand's chairmanship.


"Singapore supports work on this front, including discussions on simplifying health protocols and mutual recognition of health certificates," he said.


ABAC is the private sector arm of Apec. Its mandate is to advise government leaders and Apec officials on issues of interest to the business community. The chair for ABAC 2022 is Thailand.


The event was formally opened by ABAC 2022 chairman, Supant Mongkolsuthree. The Singapore Business Federation (SBF) is the ABAC Singapore Secretariat and the organiser for the meeting in Singapore. The hybrid event is the first in-person meeting for ABAC members in almost 2 years following Covid-19.


Source: The Business Times

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