| Danial Norjidi |
THE priorities agreed for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in 2019 are timely, as the fourth industrial revolution requires economies to adapt in order to maintain their competitiveness and economic sustainability, according to the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) Brunei.
Chile will be hosting APEC in 2019, and it was recently announced that Chile’s priorities for APEC 2019 include: to take control of the technological revolution; move towards integration 4.0 – having uniform procedures and regulations to ease trade; to aim for inclusive growth, where everyone benefits from integration and progress, in particular women and small and medium enterprises; and take charge of one of the greatest problems facing humanity today: climate change and global warming.
A press release on the APEC Secretariat website notes that APEC senior officials agreed to carry these priorities forward in 2019.
Legislative Council member and ABAC Brunei member Yang Berhormat Nik Hafimi binti Abdul Haadii shared her thoughts on these priorities in an interview with the Bulletin.
“These priorities are timely as the impending fourth Industrial Revolution requires economies to adapt to the changing world order in order to maintain our competitiveness and economic sustainability,” she said.
“We look forward to continually learning and obtaining best practices from the economies in APEC region and to contributing to the engagements for the benefit of Brunei and APEC.”
Speaking on the significance of last year for ABAC and APEC, she said, “2018 was still a challenging year for APEC and as ABAC members it is ever more important for ABAC to provide tangible and realistic impactful solutions and suggestions to APEC in 2019.”
“ABAC through the Post 2020 Visioning Group is looking at what the region will need post Bogor; the growing sense of nationalist politics driving protectionist measures and the necessity to keep to the pathways of the Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP).
“2019 is also the year that the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) comes into effect with the ratification of six economies and more to come along. The positive outcome of the CPTPP is that it is even attracting other nations outside of APEC who are keen to participate.”
Asked what she felt were some of highlights for ABAC Brunei in 2018, she said, “For ABAC Brunei, again, we keep emphasising the need to leverage on the digital economy as an impetus to increasing diversity of our own economy. The sharing of best practices through APFF has allowed Brunei to roll out the Credit Bureau and Collateral Registry at the same time attracting the attention of other central banks in the APEC as a part of promoting access to finance for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).”
“Brunei should also be commended for its very activities participating in the 2018 ABAC Marshal School study – realising the untapped potential of MSMEs in APEC,” she noted. “This study also indicated the following key findings where Brunei scored positive standing in: technological fluency; digital ecosystem; openness to foreign MSMEs; MSMEs in GVCs; support for services-focused MSMEs; and ecosystem for women-led MSMEs.”
She said that the study also showed challenges still encountered in the areas of: MSME capabilities and competitiveness; accessibility and efficiency of MSME financing and support for cross border MSMEs.
“The next step is for us to address the gaps that exist,” she said.
On what can be expected with ABAC Brunei in 2019, it was shared that ABAC Brunei’s efforts have been recognised for contributing to ABAC with the recent appointment of Yang Berhormat Nik Hafimi as the Chair for the ABAC MSME and Entrepreneurship Working Group (MSMEEWG) in 2019.
“ABAC Brunei will continue to work to support ABAC Chile’s Chairmanship and the objectives that are laid out as part of our work plan this year,” shared Yang Berhormat Nik Hafimi.
“ABAC Brunei finds relevance in supporting Chile’s priorities because it is reflective of our national push for economic diversity and the contributions within APEC prioritising access to capacity development and further increasing the opportunities to MSMEs, as well as Brunei’s role within APEC as we ourselves strive to participate in global value chains not just through products but more importantly through services.
“ABAC Brunei aims to make use of this Chairmanship opportunity in ABAC MSME Working Group also to bring up best practices from Brunei in MSME development,” she added.