South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol [Photo by Joint Press Corps]
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol called for stronger interconnectivity among Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member states to promote global economic recovery and sustainable growth in his key speech at the APEC CEO Summit 2023, which started on Thursday.
“Despite the unlimited growth potential of the digital economy, growth in borderless networks and value chains have still fallen short of the market expectations,” President Yoon said.
The president called for improvements in three sectors to enhance interconnectivity in the APEC region. The sectors are defined as trade, investment and supply chains, digital, and future generations.
President Yoon noted that the APEC’s role in promoting multilateral trade should be expanded further, with the regional economic forum’s emphasis on the free trade of goods and services within the multilateral blocs.
He also pointed out that resilient supply chains are the key to multilateral trade systems, calling on APEC member states to share their experience in developing risk management tools, such as early warning systems.
While suggesting lessons to be learned for broader digital economy, President Yoon cited examples of building the concepts of ownership and free trade agreements during the 16th century, often dubbed the “Age of Exploration,” during which European ships traveled around the globe to search for new trading routes.
“The world needs a novel standard and rule of order for the digital age,” Yoon said, adding, “The APEC, as well as the United Nations, is one of the perfect platforms where the world can discuss new digital norms.”
President Yoon also noted that one-third of the population in the APEC region is people aged 24 or younger while proposing discussions on an initiative aimed at enabling open travel to member states and exchanges by young scientists in the APEC region who have academic degrees in science and work in research and development.
The specific approaches can include visa exemptions and regulatory assistance from the immigrant offices for those who visit APEC member states to attend academic conferences, workshops, and other R&D events, according to the president’s speech.
The APEC CEO Summit of 2023 is a business forum that takes place on the sidelines of the APEC Summit, with a focus on driving topic areas, including sustainability, resilience, and innovation.
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