CHILE 2019 14-16th November 2019

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APEC CEO SUMMIT is Asia-Pacific´s most influential meeting of business and government leaders. Attendance is by invitation only.


Sustainability, Inclusion, and Technology: The pillars of the future we aim to build

Jean- Paul Luksic, Chairman of the APEC CEO Summit Chile 2019

In my life as an entrepreneur, I have participated in the most diverse meetings, international forums, and trade missions. I have traveled around different countries and economies and learned from the most diverse styles while identifying their different possibilities for a country such as ours. Without a doubt, out of all these regions, the subregion of the Asia-Pacific is the most attractive for Chile, both in terms of the opportunities in its markets, and because of the richness and diversity of its cultures.

64% of global trade exchange occurs in this geographical area. 59% of Chile’s imports come from this region and 69% of our exports are shipped there, adding up to almost US $48 billion, and this number has grown on average by 8% annually since 1994.

Indicators of this magnitude, in addition to the areas of exchange that still need to be explored among the 21 member economies of APEC, illustrate the importance and the challenges for our country of continuing to stimulate and strengthen ties with the region, even more so in its role as host of the next summit of the forum in November of this year.

Great challenges lie ahead and what we have to build as a bloc will not be possible if we continue to understand business leadership with the same codes of the past. The changes that have occurred over the last 15 years since Chile was the site of the APEC summit are so great and radical that it is as if we were facing another, entirely different world.

Jean-Paul Luksic and President of Chile Sebastian Piñera, April 2019.

Of course, at present, just as in the past, organizing this type of meeting entails difficulties inherent in bringing together in our country the most important business and government leaders from diverse countries such as China, Malaysia, Canada, the Philippines, Vietnam, or the United States, as well as a tremendous logistic effort from public and private entities to translate the opportunities that are opening up before our eyes into a common language. But none of that compares with the gain for the country’s image and reputation of becoming the site again of a meeting of this scale. And even more so set against an economic, political, social, and cultural backdrop that is rapidly changing after being triggered by the whirlwind of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Personally speaking, for me it is an honor and a tremendous challenge to be the Chairman of the APEC CEO Summit 2019 within a context of such transformation. We are bringing together the most relevant and influential business leaders from the APEC countries at an event of the highest level to discuss and reflect on the concerns and new paradigms that are defining the businesses of the member economies. At the same time, we are sending a strong signal to the world of unity and integration at a time in which other blocs are in crisis or calling their benefits into question. But beyond the honor and personal challenge, as a Chilean and an entrepreneur, I felt the obligation to take on this commitment while thinking of the benefit and the opportunity this event represents for Chile.

There is no doubt that it is legitimate and even necessary to reflect on the unfulfilled expectations or the failures of the model of economic integration. However, we are resolute that we must work as a united front and take responsibility for remedying the direct or collateral negative impacts from continuing to steadfastly work towards the fulfillment of the Bogor goals: achieving free and open trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region. 

Chile was the site of the forum 15 years ago under the motto “Succeeding in a Global World: New Challenges for Business.” At that time, as a country we proposed the development of competitive tools for appropriately facing a future that appeared to be uncertain. The Challenges of Governance, the Recovery of Trust in Markets, Global Economic Security, Human Capital, and the Promise of Technology were the primary focal points of discussion at the APEC CEO Summit 2004. These topics mirrored the concerns of businesspeople at the beginning of the 2000s which were defined by the effects of the so-called dot-com bubble.

Deciphering how much this integrative vision of the APEC countries has had an impact on the bloc being widely recognized today as a driver of growth for the global economy is admittedly something that cannot be estimated for certain. But it is undeniable that the course of the 21 members has been charted forward decisively and soundly, thus achieving results that undoubtedly have had a positive impact on their respective populations.

This is why we are organizing an agenda for the APEC CEO Summit 2019 under the motto “Co-creating the Future, Improving Lives Together,” based on seven central themes that should serve as a foundation for sparking conversations our country needs: The State of The World; Disruptive Innovation; Trust and Transparency; Trade and Development; The Future of Healthcare; Workforce for a New Era, and Sustainability and the Future of Natural Resources.

Topics and focuses such as these are substantiated on the need to stimulate new models where power relations are overcome through collaboration perceived as a closely intertwined network also featuring automation and the way in which artificial intelligence will deal with daily problems. We are talking about a future where we still have much to learn as a society about so-called Impact Economy.

This methodology emphasizes the close relationship between competitiveness, social impact, and environmental benefits, thus establishing different and novel approaches for creating jobs and recovering growth. According to the definition given by Maximilian Martin, considered the father of this concept, the central element is the so-called “social enterprise,” which is capable of employing a labor force in quality positions, promoting economic growth, contributing to the tax base, generating new resources for the non-profit sector, and tackling a wide range of environmental and social problems. This is done with the purpose of converting those topics that until now have been almost exclusively under the legal authority of NGOs and universities into cross-cutting issues for society as a whole.

Inspired by this, the APEC CEO Summit we will have the honor to organize will aim to promote the creation of economic, social, and environmental value and address outstanding needs so as to expand this path in the Asia-Pacific.

These new models we are referring to are also related to another concept that will bring us together with great vigor: disruption. Spearheaded by those companies whose way of operating and selling their products and services in an innovative manner, and with intensive use of technology, have replaced the way things have been done up until now.  It is the result of the digital transformation that has created new areas and has enabled the arrival of formats where the user is at the center and the value proposition is determined by the way in which the product or service is tailored to their needs (and not the other way around). Of course, there are challenges and fears that are inherent in these changes.

If we take a look at the previous elements as a whole, we find we are facing a new way of doing business and of creating enterprises. A cross-cutting challenge for all industries, although some are experiencing this before others, and which will require a new business approach favoring innovation, collaboration, flexibility, speed, training, and an entrepreneurial mindset.

On account of all of the above, this year the CEO Summit will delve deeper into issues and approaches that aim to understand the stability and processes of change in our world that are part of this era of disruption and the cultural and digital transformations that are being exponentially produced.

In this same vein, we will address the importance of transparency and trust as fundamental values due to the implication they have for businesses and governments at a time in which society as a whole is experiencing a crisis of distrust, and the power which was historically held by few is now broken up into the hands of many.

We also aim to redefine the equation of commercial exchange, inclusion, and development, and call on people to rethink the future of healthcare through systems that are increasingly more digital, preventive, and accessible for all.

In a world that is taking enormous leaps forward towards artificial intelligence and robotization, and where a large part of the jobs we know today will be automated, it is fundamental to secure the talents that will be required in the future and identify them to be able to increase their development in the present. Another objective of ours is to promote greater participation of women in leadership positions, as well as diversity in the labor force, with all of the economic and social benefits this entails.

In terms of the environment, there will be encouragement to look at the role of companies, now from a standpoint where new alternatives of alliances, association, and collaboration are becoming essential for operating sustainably.

Fifteen years ago, a group of entrepreneurs and leaders from the 21 economies of the Asia-Pacific were fundamental when proposing ideas in pursuit of an increase in free trade among their economies, and in subsequent years we witnessed how their successors maintained and navigated this road map. Their joint efforts, along with the work of many others throughout the years, have made it possible to position Chile as the country that currently maintains the most free-trade agreements with the rest of the world. Thanks to these efforts, according to the World Economic Forum, we have also become the most competitive Latin American economy since 1998, and we also hold top places in the rankings of economic freedom and environment for doing business, among various other acknowledgments that attest to the seriousness, stability, and safety our country provides.

During this period, we were able to consolidate a very significant flow of foreign investment, of which, according to figures from the Economics Directorate of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Direcon), 58% comes from APEC economies. For a country like Chile, reputably serious and stable, meetings of this level are unparalleled spaces for establishing dialogues and networks of trust with countries, and thus generate opportunities for investment and the building of a sustainable future for all.

On November 14-16 of this year, we will again be under the spotlight of the entire world, and especially of the world’s most buoyant and emerging economies. We will have the opportunity at that time to once again demonstrate our capacity for leadership, coordination, and convocation, where we will have the most important businesspeople and world leaders seated all in the same room in the city of Santiago, where they will discuss at depth and map out a better future for all.

Original Article in Spanish in Diplomacia Magazine