MANILA — The United States will push for the establishment of more resilient and sustainable supply chains in its hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) next year, officials said on Saturday.
APEC 2023’s theme will be “creating a resilient sustainable future for all,” with an emphasis on the need for economies to be “interconnected, innovative and inclusive,” said Mike Pyle, chairperson of the APEC 2023 Senior Officials’ Meeting recently held in Honolulu, Hawaii.
“One of the places that you see the conversation really zeroing in is around what it means to rebuild and make more resilient the supply chains that connect the Asia-Pacific region,” Pyle, who is also a US Security Adviser for International Economics, said in a virtual press conference.
“Coming out of the pandemic where constraints to the supply chain are quite considerable, those strains have pretty dramatic ramifications for every economy in the Asia Pacific, every economy in the world,” he said.
This direction comes after the APEC 2022 in Bangkok produced a leaders’ declaration that had “very strong language in condemning Russia’s war, condemning the implications of Russia’s war in terms of pressure on the global economy,” Pyle said.
US President Joe Biden “wanted to rally the world to condemn in the strongest possible terms Russia’s immoral invasion of Ukraine and for the world to acknowledge the economic cost that Russia’s war is imposing on the rest of the world,” he said.
“He (Biden) wanted to speak to an affirmative agenda to address those concerns as well as to build a more sustainable, resilient economy for the world, particularly for emerging and developing economies,” he said.
“Those goals have been significantly advanced... We recognize that we are now starting on a strong foundation to really turn our attention to acting on and taking steps in the direction of delivering on the action plan that the President articulated last month,” he added.
APEC officials’ conversations with communities in the “past few days really helped us realize how will we translate all these big ideas into relevant initiatives to the folks on the ground,” said Rebecca Sta. Maria, senior director of the APEC Secretariat in Singapore.
“How do we make this really matter to the folks because we keep on saying that APEC’s initiatives is to benefit everybody but how do we do that?” she said.
“Here in Hawaii, we really got an insight into how things are being done at the community level,” she said.
APEC, which accounts for 62 percent of the world’s gross domestic product, is a coalition of 21 economies that seeks to ensure free trade across countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
In its 2022 leaders’ declaration signed in Bangkok in November, the international economic bloc “demanded” Russia’s “complete and unconditional withdrawal” from Ukraine.
While Russia is a member of APEC, none of the bloc’s member economies are required to sign binding commitments or treaty obligations.
When asked how the group plans to implement its free trade policies despite the lack of treaty obligations, US senior official for APEC Matt Murray said: “Because of its non-binding nature, it also creates space for our leaders to advance global free and fair economic policy by getting us together to be creative.”
The bloc also provides room “to talk about ways that we might be able to be an incubator for good ideas across the region,” he said.
The APEC 2023 Leaders’ Meeting is expected to be held in San Francisco, USA in November next year.