Major Gathering of Asia-Pacific business leaders

Sustainability, digitalisation and resilient, inclusive trade will be key themes of a major gathering of senior Asia-Pacific business leaders to be held in Auckland early this year – the first such event to be held in New Zealand for some time.   

The APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) is due to meet in Auckland from 12 to 14 February. The New Zealand International Business Forum (NZIBF) and the Auckland Business Chamber are making the arrangements.

NZIBF executive director and ABAC alternate member Stephen Jacobi says in a statement that this will be ABAC’s first meeting for 2023 with the United States in the chair and led by Dominic Ng, the CEO of East West Bank. 
The meeting will build off New Zealand’s successful 2021 APEC host year, which was conducted virtually due to the pandemic.

“This gathering is a critical opportunity for the region’s business community to reconnect in person to discuss the complex and interconnected challenges we face,” Jacobi says. “ABAC will also hold a dialogue with APEC senior officials.”

 He added that the three-day programme would provide an important opportunity to show the innovation and versatility of New Zealand businesses and the dynamism of the Māori economy to an influential audience. 
“We are delighted that the ABAC meeting is strongly supported by the New Zealand Government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, along with … platinum sponsors, Xero and HSBC. Fonterra is hosting the welcome reception for the event, Silver Fern Farms the gala dinner, and Genesis Energy, a sustainability luncheon.”

New Zealand’s current ABAC members – Rachel Taulelei of Oho, who chaired ABAC in 2021; Anna Curzon, Chief Product Officer at Xero; and Malcolm Johns, CEO of Christchurch International Airport – all stressed the value of the gathering.  

 “This is a time of huge disruption and risk. It has never been more important to advocate for open markets and well-functioning supply chains. Just as vitally, we must act urgently to develop an effective and fair response to climate change. Nor can we leave parts of our community behind, which means working out how to use all the levers we have, including digitalisation, to achieve better outcomes for small businesses, women and Indigenous communities,” Rachel Taulelei says. 

 The statement noted that APEC Economic Leaders have given ABAC a mandate to provide advice on the priorities and concerns of the region’s business community, appointing three senior business representatives from each APEC economy.  The Auckland ABAC meeting will involve over 200 business delegates as well as senior officials from APEC economies. New Zealand has previously hosted ABAC meetings in 2009, 2014 and 2018.  

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