PM affirms Thailand supports APEC role on trade, investment

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VLADIVOSTOK, Sept 8 — Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Saturday affirmed Thailand’s support for APEC’s role on trade and investment expansion in the Pacific Rim and the integration under free trade agreements which would lead to the formation of a Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP).

PM Yingluck on Saturday joined the retreat session 1 on “Establishing Reliable Supply Chains,” and was scheduled to attend the retreat session 2 on “Establishing Reliable Supply Chains” on Sunday.

During the retreat session 1 on “Establishing Reliable Supply Chains, Ms Yingluck said that APEC was still a key player for global economic growth.

There was fear that a global economy downturn would bring about trade barriers which would affect the APEC goal of trade and investment liberalisation, she said.

Under the Bogor goals set by APEC leaders at their summit in Bogor, Indonesia, in 1994 and implemented under the Osaka Action Plan chartered by leaders at their summit in Osaka in Japan the following year, more developed APEC member economies pledged to target 2010 to achieve freer trade and investment, and for less developed members by 2020.

The Thai premier said that Thailand has supported regional integration under various free trade agreements which could lead to the establishment of the FTAAP.

The FTAAP is a proposal to create a free trade agreement among the 21 APEC economies and could help countries individually and collectively move towards greater integration and economic reform.

Ms Yingluck also touched on the importance of connectivity which would be the basis for regional integration and play an important role in the supply chain on food and energy.

She said Thailand was aiming to be the logistics hub in ASEAN and the Asia-Pacific region, as the country has sped up investment in Hard Infrastructure and Soft Infrastructure.

The 20th APEC summit held at Rusky Island, under the theme “Integrate to Grow, Innovate to Prosper” is focusing on four main agendas: liberalising trade and investment and expanding regional economic integration; strengthening food security; establishing reliable supply chains; and fostering innovative growth.

APEC was established in 1989 with Thailand one of its founding members. It consists of 21 member economies, accounting for 53 percent of the world’s GDP and about 43 percent of world trade.

Trade between Thailand and other APEC members account for 70 percent of the country’s international trade. APEC’s objective is to enhance trade and investment liberalization in the Asia-Pacific region, in order to attain the ultimate goal of establishing a free trade area in this region.