Council seeks key fixes


Inflation, food and climate major issues

Pictured from left are Lam Yi Young, Regional Economics Integration Working Group chair, Abac Singapore; Janet De Silva, Digital Working Group, Abac Canada; Mr Kriengkrai; Dato Rohana Mahmood, MSME and Inclusiveness Working Group chair, Abac Malaysia; and Hiroshi Nakaso, Finance and Economics Working Group chair, Abac Japan.

The Apec Business Advisory Council (Abac) is scheduled to ask members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) on Friday to jointly find solutions to three key issues — inflation, food security and climate change — that are affecting the global economy and environment.

“The private sector expects Apec leaders will seriously consider these issues, which pose a major challenge to the world as the global economy is projected to face a recession next year,” said Kriengkrai Thiennukul, chairman of Abac as well as the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI).

The issues will be presented during the Apec CEO Summit, which is held in parallel with the Apec Summit.

The Russia-Ukraine war is blamed for driving up global energy prices, leading to high inflation in many countries. Attempts to ease inflation by central banks are projected to lead to a global recession next year, according to the World Bank.

“The problem of inflation requires urgent solutions as it deals a blow to people’s purchasing power and economic activities,” said Mr Kriengkrai.

The global food shortage also requires an immediate response. Abac expects food scarcity to affect more than 10 countries this year.

The FTI warned earlier of an intensifying food shortage in the third and fourth quarters this year because exporting nations have restricted their shipments, including for wheat.

Stockpiling appears to be unavoidable following lower crop yields as a result of a shortage of fertiliser and animal feed during the Russia-Ukraine war. The conflict is blamed for pushing up the prices of fertiliser and some raw materials.

Mr Kriengkrai also voiced concern over climate change. He said Abac wants to see the business sector develop novel ideas to deal with global warming and support bio-, circular and green (BCG) economic development, which is a focus of the Apec summit.

BCG, declared a national agenda item by the Prayut Chan-o-cha government, promotes manufacturing that adds value to products while causing minimal or no impact on the environment.

Last month, Abac drew up five recommendations to develop the global economy and businesses. They are to be forwarded to the 21 members of Apec during the summit. The five proposals involve regional economic integration, digital infrastructure development, help for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), sustainability, and financial measures to speed up economic recovery.

“MSMEs account for 97% of businesses across the Apec area and contribute 40-50% of Apec’s GDP,” said Mr Kriengkrai.

Abac wants Apec leaders to adopt the recommendations, which will eventually facilitate the business sector’s efforts to deal with economic challenges, said Montri Mahapreukpong, Abac executive director.