We are living through the crisis of a century, and strength comes from our determination to work together
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Business leaders from 21 Asia-Pacific economies, at this week’s virtual meeting, discussed ways to unitedly tackle COVID-19 and rebuild the region’s economies, according to the APEC Business Advisory Council’s release issued and received here, Wednesday.

"We are living through the crisis of a century, and strength comes from our determination to work together," Chair of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) Rachel Taulelei stated.

"Overcoming the current adversity, whether it is by restoring public health, reopening borders, securing economic recovery, or achieving more equitable communities, demands constructive, creative, and above all, collaborative approaches," Taulelei noted.

The ABAC chair further emphasized that the need for such coordinated thinking has been brought home very vividly by the spectre of vaccine export restrictions.

"It remains true, as it has been since the start of this crisis, that we all remain vulnerable if any of us remains vulnerable," Taulelei cautioned.

Taulelei made the remarks after the first ABAC meeting of 2021 that was opened with an address from Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern.

“The focus this year at ABAC is on people, place, and prosperity -- the three elements that are all essential to creating the kind of societies we want to live in," she explained.

"Inclusion for all people is our North Star – so we will be working on how to ensure access for all to COVID vaccinations, essential goods and food supplies; how small businesses can operate on a level playing field; and how to empower women and indigenous populations for success," she stated.

Taulelei emphasized that to achieve a prosperous region, especially after the body-blows of 2020, demands that the most fundamental of APEC goals are free and open markets.

"That means building a seamless Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific and championing the World Trade Organization, including initiatives to keep supply chains functioning and trade flowing as well as the reopening of borders and resumption of travel that will revive the region’s economic growth," she affirmed.

According to Taulelei, the requisite efforts to encourage economic recovery should be supported by the practice of digital economy.

"Digital tools are fundamental to resilience, sustainability, and inclusion. Emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, can unleash even greater opportunities – but we need a trusted, interoperable enabling environment to realize that potential," she reiterated.

Taulelei also noted that the APEC Putrajaya Vision, agreed by APEC Leaders late last year, provided an imperative to act.

"The vision calls for an open, dynamic, resilient, and peaceful Asia-Pacific community by 2040. The road to get there will not be easy, but the business of business is solving problems – and ABAC is ready and eager for the challenge," Taulelei concluded.
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Reporter: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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