ABAC report urges greater effort for inclusive growth

Danial Norjidi

The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Advisory Council (ABAC) Brunei Darussalam presented the ABAC Report to Leaders 2019 (titled ‘Inclusive and Collaborative: Growth in the Digital Era) to Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew bin Abdullah yesterday.

The report was presented by Legislative Council member Yang Berhormat Nik Hafimi binti Abdul Haadii and Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Baiduri Bank Pengiran Azaleen bin Pengiran Dato Haji Mustapha as members of ABAC Brunei Darussalam.

According to a press release, the report highlights the work undertaken by ABAC throughout the year and its recommendations that form the basis of dialogue between APEC Leaders and APEC business representatives on November 16, on the sidelines of the APEC Summit in Santiago, Chile.

The ABAC 2019 report sets out practical recommendations aimed at addressing challenges and boosting regional growth and prosperity while enhancing inclusion.

At this crucial juncture of transformation with a fast changing landscape and a slowing global economy, it is imperative that all economies take action to boost growth, enhance inclusiveness and strengthen resilience.

Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew bin Abdullah receives the ABAC Report to Leaders 2019 from Legislative Council member Yang Berhormat Nik Hafimi binti Abdul Haadii and Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Baiduri Bank Pengiran Azaleen bin Pengiran Dato Haji Mustapha. PHOTO: DANIAL NORJIDI

It was shared that under Chile’s leadership, ABAC 2019 has focussed on efforts towards inclusive trade policy to foster growth in the digital era and advancing regional economic integration with the following priorities: reaffirming regional economic integration; building sustainable communities through social innovation and green growth; facilitating micro, small and medium enterprises’ (MSMEs) market access and success in global value chains; achieving inclusive growth through financial inclusion, innovation and integration; and promoting digitalisation and innovation for greater inclusion.

With the dramatic slowdown in global economic growth, contractions in trade and investment flows and loss of business confidence caused by recent trade disputes and protectionist measures, ABAC views that affirming support for the World Trade Organization, supporting necessary reforms for the system to stay relevant and adopting binding commitments to prohibit discrimination between men and women are ever more relevant today for the overall prosperity of APEC.

In supporting MSMEs, ABAC Brunei has co-led and facilitated the setting up of the Monde B2B platform at the invitation of ABAC Chile and the support of the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA).

The Monde B2B platform is an online marketplace that connects importers and exporters across the APEC region and will enable Bruneian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to export products and services cross borders.

ABAC’s support of the initiative will provide the opportunity to 100 local SMEs by 2020, with market access initially starting within BIMP-EAGA and the Pacific Alliance regions.

Reflecting on the drive for the digital economy agenda, ABAC Brunei views that the country could benefit from learning the best practices of economies from the APEC region. In addition, ABAC Brunei advocates for Brunei to implement the five pillars identified in the APEC Cross-Border e-Commerce Facilitation Framework and place priority on digital literacy, skills and training, on a lifelong basis from early education through to in-work upskilling, to enable a future ready workforce, and enhance the capabilities of Brunei to reap the benefits of modern digital technology.