Businesses share recommendations to APEC leaders for economic recovery: Aboitiz Group President to participate as lead for innovation in services at annual dialogue

    Businesses share recommendations to APEC leaders for economic recovery: Aboitiz Group President to participate as lead for innovation in services at annual dialogue

    The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) approaches promoting sustainable and inclusive growth in the region through a multi-stakeholder strategy. Business leaders from the APEC region are tapped to discuss policy recommendations and strengthen regional services,  trade, and investment through the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). For the upcoming November discussions to be held in Bangkok, Thailand, Aboitiz Group President and CEO and ABAC PH member Sabin Aboitiz will be attending as ABAC Regional Economic Integration Working Group (REIWG) Co-Chair / Lead for Services. In this capacity, Aboitiz will be nurturing effective discussions and planning actionable measures to further APEC’s goals.

    “We are at an interesting point in history where the world is both completely connected by technology but bitterly divided by ideology. Cooperation among our nations, through trade, services, investment, and mutual respect and support, has never been more imperative. I look forward to these discussions and getting things done as a team,” said Aboitiz.

    Apart from Aboitiz, other members of ABAC PH include its chairman Tomas Alcantara and fellow member Joanne de Asis.

    Just a few days ago, ABAC 2022 Chair and Chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries Kriengkrai Thiennukul presented the ABAC Report to APEC Economic Leaders to APEC 2022 Chair Thailand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

    Upon the presentation of the Report, ABAC Chair Kriengkrai noted, “The Report contains ABAC’s recommendations to APEC Leaders to meet the unprecedented economic crisis faced by the Asia-Pacific region arising from the consequences of the continuing pandemic, geo-political conflict, inflation, and supply chain disruptions which impact directly on business, both large and small. These recommendations will be the basis of our discussions when we meet with APEC Leaders during our annual dialogue on November 18.”

    ABAC Chair Kriengkrai Thiennukul presenting the ABAC Report to APEC Economic Leaders to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha with ABAC Thailand members and alternative members last Oct, 11, 2022 in Bangkok, Thailand.

    In the Report were recommendations that would firstly speed-up economic recovery, followed by regaining momentum for sustainable and inclusive long-term growth. The latter involves concrete actions to address climate change as well as furthering regional economic integration through the realization of the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAA), supporting multilateral rules-based trading systems with the World Trade Organization (WTO) at its core, supporting MSMEs, encouraging faster uptake of digital technologies and pursuing fiscal consolidation and structural reforms.

    “All these actions are all fundamental to ensuring that our region will be seamless, dynamic, resilient, and sustainable – and a place where everyone including disadvantaged and under-served groups can enjoy the benefits and opportunities offered by deeper regional economic integration. But this will require even greater collective leadership and decisive action from APEC. We, the business sector, are committed to playing our role in this effort,” Kriengkrai added.

    Aboitiz has long recognized that people are the heart and soul of an economy. The next step is to foster an integrated and sustainable environment for them to thrive in beyond the local community. Drawing from the recently presented ABAC Report and the Group’s own success, Aboitiz is ready to do his part in bolstering regional cooperation, trade, and economic growth. The ABAC and APEC meetings in November between regional business leaders and heads of state is the important next step forward to lay the groundwork to come out of the pandemic stronger and more resilient than ever.

    As the Aboitiz Group undergoes its Great Transformation growth strategy, leveraging technology and the revitalized entrepreneurial mindset of its team members, lessons learned have been shared with the wider local business community, and are ready to be spread across the region.

    At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and upon seeing the struggles of the local business community, the Group coined the term “ma-Digiskarte.” The term encapsulates the notion of proficient use of digital technology for businesses large and small to not merely adapt but even thrive in changing environments.

    In July, the corporate social responsibility arm of the Group, the Aboitiz Foundation, alongside sister company Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank), launched “Byaheng Digiskarte: Enabling MSMEs with Innovation and Technology.” Through webinars and training sessions, they successfully shared ways for MSMEs to improve their business and reach more consumers through digital resources.

    The following month, UnionBank and the Aboitiz Group launched “Byaheng Digiskarte: Angat Turismo” with the Tourism Promotions Board of the Philippines. The drive is part of the Group’s efforts to help entrepreneurs thrive in the digital economy, pushing its Tech-Up Pilipinas advocacy. Through UnionBank’s MSME platform GlobalLinker, the Aboitiz Group is offering technology-focused training courses designed to provide  learning opportunities that will enable capacity-building and address various gaps in digital competencies for the tourism MSMEs.

    Through the Aboitiz Foundation and the Group’s agribusiness and food subsidiary Pilmico, the Aboitiz Group has donated three kinds of livelihood kits to beneficiaries: Project Bacon involves donations of high-breed gilts, Project Omelette involves egg-laying machines with ready-to-lay hens, and Project Farina involves bakery starter kits. These easy-to-manage businesses with quick return on investments were specifically designed to benefit business owners. Most importantly, Pilmico provided technical assistance to ensure longevity beyond the initial donation. These beneficiaries showed that with the proper aid and, crucially, the right environment for growth, businesses and the surrounding community can thrive.

    At the annual dialogue, Aboitiz will meet other ABAC members, as well as APEC leaders. President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. will be attending alongside other heads of state in the region. The dialogue promises to be a fruitful discussion on regional economic integration as government and business leaders work together to promote sustainable and inclusive growth across the Asia-Pacific. #

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