In 1995, the APEC Leaders established a business advisory body within APEC called the APEC Business Advisory Council. It is composed of three business executives from each member economy tasked to provide the business perspective on specific areas of APEC cooperation.
The Council had its first meeting and dialogue with the leaders in 1996, during the Philippine chairmanship of APEC.
Aligned with the Bogor goals, ABAC’s work is focused on economic integration – removing barriers behind the border, at the border and across the border – as well as liberalizing trade and investment in goods and services.ABAC Mandate
As the voice of business in APEC, ABAC provides advice to Leaders – recommending policy and regulatory reforms, as well as initiatives to pursue, that would best contribute to the achievement of the Bogor Goals. The ABAC Members meet four times a year, each meeting runs 3-4 days long – and with this limited time, we prioritize our work to focus on specific business concerns.
Every year, we submit to the APEC Leaders a Report which contains our key recommendations on trade and investment issues that made it to the ABAC agenda. We also provide advice to Ministers whom we write to every year to share with them our thoughts on how to address challenges faced by businesses.
We also represent the private sector in APEC committee and working group meetings including sub-fora discussions, in order to provide additional business information and opinions to guide on their deliberations. There are also multitudes of initiatives put forward by APEC economies on various areas of cooperation, and ABAC’s endorsement and/or partnership is often sought to factor in the business element in those projects.ABAC Structure
ABAC is composed of 3 executives per economy, all appointed by the respective President or Prime Minister, and their designated alternates. There are 4 ABAC meetings a year, one held every quarter.
ABAC provides advice to Leaders on business and economic matters. This is essentially done at the annual Dialogue with Leaders which takes place during the Annual Economic Leaders Meeting. In preparation for that, ABAC also interacts with Senior Officials and APEC Ministers. Every year, we submit to the APEC Leaders a Report which contains our key recommendations on trade and investment issues that made it to the ABAC agenda.
ABAC’s work covers the areas of Regional Economic Integration, Digital Innovation, MSME and Entrepreneurship, Sustainable Development, and Finance and Economics.
Tomas I. Alcantara is the Chairman of the Board of Directors and President of Alsons Consolidated Resources, Inc., Alsons Development and Investment Corporation and Sarangani Agricultural Company, Inc.
Mr. Alcantara is also the Chairman of Holcim Philippines, Inc., and the Alsons/AWS Information Systems, Inc. (AAISI). He is a Trustee of the European IT Service Center Foundation and of the Foundation for Revenue Enhancement, and a Director of Philweb Corporation and DBP-Daiwa Capital Markets Phils., Inc.
Mr. Alcantara served as Undersecretary for the Industry & Investment Group of the Department of Trade and Industry, the Managing Head of the Board of Investments from July 1986 to March 1995, and the Special Envoy of the Philippine President to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in 1996.
He also served as a Director of the Philippine Reclamation Authority (formerly Public Estate Authority) from 2003 to 2006 and Chairman of the Manila Economic & Cultural Office (MECO) from 2001 to 2010.
Joanne de Asis is Chairperson of Globe Capital Partners LLC, a private financial advisory and investment company that has been engaged in cross-border strategic alliances and investments since 1997. The company involves high-profile professionals globally. She is also Senior Advisor to Morgan Stanley where she started her career in 1977 in New York and worked up the corporate ladder both in New York and London. Her Wall Street career garnered her several international and local awards.
Ms. de Asis sits on several boards, locally and globally, including IISS in London; Annenberg Foundation at Sunnylands in California; and Walton’s Crystal Bridges in Arkansas. In 1999, she was chosen to be Grand Marshall, with then Mayor Rudy Giuliani, in the tri-state area representing Filipinos. She was Chairman of the Philippine-American Chamber of Commerce in New York City.
After a successful career abroad, she returned to the Philippines to open the representative office for Morgan Stanley where she is actively involved in cross-border mergers and acquisitions. Some of the “under-the-radar” Philippine deals include Philippine Del Monte purchase of Del Monte USA; the largest investment into a Philippine institution (Security Bank) by a foreign bank (BTMU); and BDO purchase of GE Bank.
Lance Y. Gokongwei is President and Chief Operating Officer of JG Summit Holdings, Inc. JG Summit is one of the largest and most diversified Filipino conglomerates. It is involved in various industries, including real estate and hotels, food, air transportation, financial services, petrochemicals, telecommunications, and power.
He is President and Chief Executive Officer of Universal Robina Corporation and Cebu Air, Inc.; Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Robinsons Retail Holdings, Inc.; Chief Executive Officer of JG Summit Petrochemical Corporation and JG Summit Olefins Corporation; Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Robinsons Land Corporation; and Chairman of Robinsons Bank Corporation.
He is Director of Oriental Petroleum and Minerals Corporation, United Industrial Corporation Limited; Director and Vice Chairman of Manila Electric Company; and trustee and secretary of the Gokongwei Brothers Foundation, Inc.
Francis Chua is currently the Founding Chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce, Philippines (ICCP). He is also the Chair Emeritus of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (PCCI) and Honorary President of the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Inc. (FFCCCII).
He has served as President to PCCI (2010-2011); The Chamber of Commerce of the Philippine Islands (2004-2006) and FFCCCII (2005-2007). In 2007, he was appointed as Special Envoy for Trade and Investments by the President of the Philippines.
He is the Chairman of the Board of Dongfeng Motors, Vice Chairman and Excom Chair of Bank of Commerce, Vice Chairman of Basic Energy, Founding Chairman of BA Securities Inc. and the Chairman and President of BA Group of Companies.
Dr. Chua is also a Director of the Philippine Stock Exchange, Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP), Global Ferronickel Inc (FNI), Pan Pacific Energy and Bell Electronics, among others. He also leads the Honorary Commissioners Group of Tzu Chi Foundation.
He has been the Honorary Consul General of the Republic of Peru in Manila since 2006.
Guillermo M. Luz is the Private Sector Co-Chairman of the National Competitiveness Council, a public-private body that develops strategy for the long-term competitiveness of the Philippines through policy reforms, project implementation, institution building and performance monitoring.
He is an Associate Director at Ayala Corporation, the holding company of one of the oldest and largest business groups in the Philippines, with business activities in property development, banking and financial services, telecommunications, water infrastructure development and management, automotive dealership and distribution, business process outsourcing, electronics manufacturing solutions, and new investments in power and renewable energy, infrastructure, health, and education.
He is Chief Resilience Officer and an Advisor of the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF), the country’s major private sector coordinator for disaster risk reduction management.
He was the Lead Coordinator for the Private Sector of the APEC National Organizing Council (APEC-NOC), the government agency in charge of preparations for the Philippines’ Chairmanship of APEC in 2015. He also served as the Chief Operating Officer of the APEC 2015 CEO Summit Host Committee.
The Makati Business Club (MBC) serves as the Secretariat of ABAC Philippines.
This year, ABAC adopted the theme “Digitization and Innovation – Advancing Social Harmony.” The 2018 work program will focus on the following priorities:
- accelerating regional economic integration
- sustaining, developing and deepening inclusive growth opportunities
- creating opportunities for MSMEs to prosper
- strengthening financial systems to secure stable growth, investment and inclusiveness
- breaking barriers to enrich society by advancing technology
To carry forward the work program for 2018, ABAC established the following working groups with their respective goals and focus areas:
Regional Economic Integration Working Group (REIWG)
- Promote open trade and investment; remove non-tariff barriers
- Enhance regional investment flows
- Progress pathways towards the realization of the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) and the Lima Declaration
- Progress implementation of the APEC Services Competitiveness Roadmap
Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG)
- Promote energy security, diversification and efficiencies and support Post-Paris Agreement on Climate Change
- Promote real income growth of low and middle income groups by 3% annually to drive consumption and investment
- Promote measures to ensure food security, sustainable agriculture and fisheries and urban infrastructure
- Promote APEC mining principles and inclusive business through extractive industries
MSME & Entrepreneurship Working Group (MSMEEWG)
- Enhance MSME access to finance
- Promote business strategies that stimulate innovation, entrepreneurship and good governance
- Facilitate MSME access to markets and global value chains
- Promote human capital development of MSMEs in the digital world
Finance & Economics Working Group (FEWG)
- Mobilize finance and enhanced governance to promote quality infrastructure investment
- Encourage financial innovation, fintech and inclusiveness
- Support enhanced fiscal management, revenue raising and improved management of public debt
- Encourage targeted capacity building measures to enhance financial systems and market efficiencies
Digital and Innovation Working Group (DIWG)
- Develop business perspectives on frontier digital and innovation challenges; support APEC Internet and Digital Economy Roadmap and E-Commerce Facilitation Framework
- Promote measures to encourage social absorption of emerging new technologies and entrepreneurship
- Contribute to the APEC Economic Committee Review of Structural Reforms relevant to digitization and beneficial to business
- Support development of a policy framework to upgrade human capital skills and training to adapt to challenges of digitization
Detailed recommendations will be developed during the course of this year on all priorities identified in the 2018 work program. ABAC’s recommendations will be conveyed to APEC governments through a range of avenues including to APEC Senior Officials, Trade, SME and Finance Ministers and directly to APEC Economic Leaders at the annual Dialogue with APEC Leaders.
About ABAC Philippines