Pacific-rim leaders will hold a two-day meeting from Friday in Bangkok, focusing on ways to address surging energy and food prices and supply chain disruptions sparked by Russia’s war in Ukraine.
During the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum summit, the leaders are likely to agree to advance trade, investment and economic integration to spur growth in the regional economy.
Despite a rift over the Ukraine crisis among the member economies, including Japan, the United States and Russia, the leaders plan to adopt “Bangkok Goals” for the Bio-Circular-Green Economy concept, a post-COVID-19 pandemic growth strategy for a sustainable planet, according to Japanese officials.
It will be the first time APEC has set comprehensive goals for environmental and climate issues, the officials said.
However, it is unknown whether APEC will issue a post-summit leaders’ declaration given the differences over the war in Ukraine, with Western countries condemning Russia but some member economies, such as China, opting not to sanction Moscow.
In a ministerial meeting Thursday, divergent views on the Ukraine crisis prevented the APEC economies from issuing a joint statement at the end of the session. Negotiations were still under way, but it was not known whether the ministers would be able to adopt it, according to Japanese delegates.
The International Monetary Fund forecasts growth in Asia and the Pacific will slow to 4 percent in 2022 from 6.5 percent the previous year, citing the Ukraine war, global credit tightening and the slowdown in the Chinese economy as factors.
Referring to Russia’s invasion of its neighbor, the IMF said in a regional economic outlook released on Oct. 27, “The main impact on Asia has been through commodities prices, which spiked following the invasion and have remained high.”
“Most, but not all, countries in Asia have seen a deterioration of their terms of trade,” it said.
U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris will attend the Bangkok summit in place of President Joe Biden. Russian President Vladimir Putin will skip it, as he did in the Group of 20 summit that ended Wednesday in Bali, Indonesia.
Harris will underscore the United States’ economic leadership in the region and rally other APEC members around the U.S. vision for the rules-based international economic order, a senior administration official said, in a veiled criticism of China’s economic coercion and debt-trap diplomacy.
She will lay out the U.S. comprehensive economic agenda for the region, including the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, a U.S.-led 14-nation initiative for further economic integration, in an address to the APEC CEO Summit slated for Friday, the official said.
“The central message of her remarks will be that the United States has an enduring economic commitment to the Indo-Pacific, and there is no better partner for the economies and companies of the Indo-Pacific than the United States of America,” the official said.
The APEC gathering will be the last of a series of summit meetings in Southeast Asia, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations-related summits in Phnom Penh and the G20 summit in Bali, along with bilateral and trilateral talks on the sidelines.
Representing about half of global trade and 60 percent of the world economy, APEC groups Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam.