The year 2022 can be considered an auspicious year for Thailand with the country hosting a range of international events as part of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) which will demonstrate the country’s readiness to host the leaders from the 21 member economies around the region, as well as further enhancing Thailand’s reputation on the international stage.
APEC is a forum for economic co-operation in the Asia-Pacific region and was established in 1989 with the key objective of promoting trade and investment liberalisation, including social co-operation, agricultural co-operation, promoting the role of women within the economy, disaster risk reduction, and public health development. These objectives were aimed at creating inclusive economic growth, prosperity, and sustainability for the people of the region.
Core Concepts of APEC 2022
In this post-Covid period, Thailand is prioritising economic recovery and is promoting the concept of “Open. Connect. Balance”. As a host of APEC 2022, Thailand foresees ways to increase trade and investment opportunities – an investment to connect all dimensions to restore safe travel and support sustainable growth through socially responsible business operations with an emphasis on balance rather than profit. The concept of a Bio-Circular Green Economic Model (BCG) is the foundation which aligns perfectly with the theme of APEC 2022.
Post-Covid, many countries are looking for methods to revive flagging economies. The pandemic disruption has highlighted the negative effects of uneven development and neglected environmental impacts. For these reasons, the BCG economic policy was introduced to drive APEC 2022 and meet the needs of sustainable, comprehensive and balanced economic recovery with an emphasis on using technology and innovation to help business entrepreneurs add value, reduce losses, and incorporate a greater consideration of the environment. Thailand’s focus is on “creating balance in all aspects”, ie. achieving balance by bringing together sustainable development programmes in APEC and working together systematically to promote long-term regional growth.
Thailand began its BCG preparations on 22 February 2022 when the First APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM1) was held to discuss policies to promote the BCG economic model and create inclusive, sustainable, and balanced growth in the Asia-Pacific region. Additionally, building awareness and understanding in practical application of the BCG economic model in the post-Covid era was encouraged through the mutual exchange of experiences and ideas.
This policy discussion reflects the concept of the BCG economy and is spreading around the world. APEC is already implementing it as a means of helping many businesses – being both profitable and environmentally friendly. At its core, the BCG concept has a practical and holistic drive and Thailand intends to adopt the concept as a model for a systematic APEC approach. It is a source of pride to Thailand that it can help determine the direction for sustainable growth of the forum’s member countries.
Credit: Facebook APEC 2022 Thailand
To continue developing the guidelines to promote economic development using the BCG model, at the Second APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM 2) on 15-16 May 2022, Thailand proposed that APEC prepare a leadership document – “The Goals of the BCG Economy - Bangkok” to promote regional sustainable development with four key goals:
Adaptation of the MICE industry to conform with the BCG concept
TCEB is applying the BCG economic model to the MICE industry by raising the standard of, and promoting, sustainable MICE events. In doing so TCEB is collaborating with seven alliance organisations: Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration (Public Organization) (DASTA), Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Thailand Science Research and Innovation (TSRI), The Thai Chamber of Commerce and Board of Trade of Thailand, Thai Ecotourism And Adventure Travel Association (TEATA), the Program Management Unit Competitiveness (PMUC) and the Thailand Greenhouse Gas Management Organization (TGO), and has signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the Carbon Balance scheme to enhance the potential of events and tourism in achieving zero CO2 emission.
On 12 May 2022, Mrs. Supawan Teerarat, Senior Vice President of the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB), and Ms. Orachorn Wongpan-ngam, Director of TCEB’s MICE Capabilities Development Department, met with the Director of the Thailand Greenhouse Gas Management Organization (TGO) and a working team to discuss further co-operation in connecting MICE events with the mission to reduce global warming and push towards Net Zero Carbon event.
The Automotive Industry and the BCG concept
The automotive industry in the Asia-Pacific region plays an important role in the implementation of the Bio-Circular Green Economic Model (BCG). Through the APEC Automotive Dialogue, APEC has discussed the promotion of new technologies in automotive vehicles.
Mr. Krit Chansuwan, Deputy Director-General of the Office of Industrial Economics of Thailand says, “In line with the Bio-Circular Green Economic (BCG) Model which is an integral part of APEC 2022, the region’s automotive industry should take the opportunity to contribute to the goal of net zero emissions in the economic recovery, and dealing with global environmental problems.”
One of the ways to build a low carbon future or net zero emissions is to replace old vehicles with electric units. At the Motor Show 2022, there were more than 1,520 bookings for electric vehicles which constituted more than 10% of total bookings made. More and more automotive manufacturers are turning their attention to electric vehicles and there were more than 20 electric vehicles on display at the motor show. Further, government policy supports the purchase of electric cars by offering discounts of more than 150,000 baht. The numbers are only likely to increase with continued co-operation between governments and private sectors.
How important is APEC 2022 to Thailand?
The importance of hosting the event lies in the opportunities it creates for Thailand to play a leadership role in setting policy direction. The benefits for the host country are various, especially with respect to helping sustainably rebuild the post-Covid economy and adopting the BCG economic concept. Thailand will benefit from discussing with fellow forum members the promotion of open trade and investment through free trade negotiations, the recovery of the travel industry through polices promoting safety and business growth, and the ongoing sustainable regional development which will in turn help to improve the quality of life of Thai citizens.