The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) has been a cornerstone in promoting economic cooperation and trade liberalization among its member economies since its establishment in 1989. Recently, the 2023 APEC forum took center stage in Detroit on May 17th, aiming to bolster trade liberalization, business facilitation, economic and technical cooperation, while also empowering youth and women. 

This latest summit held a distinct focus: generating employment opportunities in a net-zero economy. As one of the participants, Taiwan has made a significant voice internationally, by setting a pioneering example to its APEC counterparts, about its success of nurturing green economies and combating climate change. 

The role of APEC summit in achieving ‘Net-Zero Economy’

The main focus of APEC’s recent forum was the formation of a global green economy. Characterized by its low carbon footprints, resource efficiency, and social inclusivity, the green economy aligns with global aspirations for sustainability amid the climate crisis. APEC addresses the challenges of the climate crisis by encouraging its members to reduce carbon emissions, promote green energy industries, improve domestic resource efficiency, and biodiversity preservation. These initiatives are part of the broader goal of the APEC economies to achieve a net-zero economy by the year 2050.

APEC as a catalyst for economic growth and forging international ties

Boasting a membership of 21 economies that constitute nearly 50% of world trade, APEC has proven to be a catalyst for economic growth and international cooperation. Through concerted efforts to increase international trade, the real GDP of APEC member states surged from US$19 trillion to an impressive $46.9 trillion between 1989 and 2018. The Key to this success was the reduction of trade barriers and the harmonization of regulations, driving average tariffs down from 17% in 1989 to 5.3% in 2018, and meanwhile, this achievement greatly improves the employment rates within APEC members’ economies. 
APEC’s triumphs extend beyond trade. 

The Information Technology Agreement, eliminating tariffs on information technology products, stands as a testament to APEC’s capacity for facilitating free trade agreements. The APEC Business Travel Card and the APEC Education Hubs Initiative have further advanced connectivity and education cooperation by increasing business travels between members and improving access to education within member states. These accomplishments underscore APEC’s ability to surpass expectations and influence policies beyond its member economies.

While APEC has demonstrated remarkable progress in fostering a green economy, challenges persist, such as the need for increased investment in green technologies. Collaboration among APEC economies is vital in this pursuit, requiring harmonized environmental regulations and shared best practices. Moreover, APEC must address the potential job losses in traditional sectors resulting from green growth. Implementing inclusive policies that mitigate these effects is crucial for ensuring economy-wide benefits.

Taiwan as “model” to combat climate change and “pioneer” of sustainable development

Taiwan, known as “Chinese Taipei” in international forums, contributed to the APEC summit by sharing its own experiences in building a domestic green economy. By participating in APEC, Taiwan secures a seat at the table for addressing formidable challenges. Its contribution to the promotion of green career opportunities showcases Taiwan’s commitment to global issues and its willingness to share its expertise. Additionally, APEC serves as a unique platform for Taiwan, allowing it to display its good governance, broaden its international perspective, and cultivate other nations’ support for participation in other international organizations or conferences. Taiwan’s expertise in technology and economics grants it a voice in shaping APEC’s agenda, aligning with the organization’s goals.

During the summit, Taiwan’s Minister of Transportation and Communications, Wang Kwo-tsai, highlighted the country’s achievements in enhancing supply chain resilience, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic. Taiwan’s efforts in sustaining air and maritime transportation amid disruptions underscored its ability to navigate complex situations and maintain economic stability. In addition, the fact that Taiwan actively promotes its green employment development strategies demonstrates its commitment to advancing environmentally sustainable growth and positions itself as a leader on the conversation of green economic policy.

Taiwan’s growing international voice

APEC’s recent summit in Detroit signifies its commitment to building a green economy through global collaboration. Taiwan’s involvement has further enriched the discourse, underlining the importance of its voice and expertise. APEC’s accomplishments illustrate the power of cooperation in driving economic growth and overcoming challenges. While there are significant challenges that countries will have to overcome, APEC has seen tremendous success in aligning the international community to solve economic challenges. Additionally, these challenges become easier to solve, with Taiwan’s active involvement in APEC and contributions to creating a green economy.

READ NEXT: Incinerator Project in Lukang Withdrawn After Protests

TNL Editor: Kim Chan (@thenewslensintl)

If you enjoyed this article and want to receive more story updates in your news feed, please be sure to follow our Facebook.