On Friday, Thailand formally took over the rotating chairmanship from New Zealand of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) for 2022, with its theme “Open. Connect. Balance.”

To symbolise the handover, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern gave Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha a Maori waka (canoe) paddle.

as new chair thai pm vows to drive apec towards sustainable and balanced growth 1 - As new chair, Thai PM vows to drive APEC towards sustainable and balanced growth

She stated that the theme of New Zealand’s 2021 chairmanship of APEC was “Join, Work, Grow Together” which was inspired by the country’s indigenous Maori people.

Traditionally, building a waka involves entire Maori communities working in harmony for a common goal. Waka enabled the Maori to traverse vast expanses of ocean. Likewise, building APEC prosperity requires a collaborative effort by all member economies to reach a common goal, she said.

Ms. Ardern also said that New Zealand is confident that Thailand “will paddle the APEC canoe forward with enthusiasm, creativity and ingenuity.”

After receiving the paddle, Prime Minister Prayut said that Thailand will push to develop the region into inclusive and sustainable growth, while driving APEC towards a sustainable and balanced post-COVID-19 era, through the concept of Bio, Circular and Green Economy, known as the ECG Economy Model.

as new chair thai pm vows to drive apec towards sustainable and balanced growth 2 - As new chair, Thai PM vows to drive APEC towards sustainable and balanced growth

He also urged the Thai people to work together to build an Asia-Pacific Community under the “Open. Connect. Balance”theme.

The prime minister also invited APEC leaders and representatives to Thailand to attend in-person meetings and encouraged Thai people to work together in welcoming delegates and travellers to Thailand throughout 2022 from all the 21 APEC economies and beyond,.

Throughout Thailand’s year in the chair, the APEC 2022 logo will be a “chalom”, a Thai bamboo basket used to carry items to be passed from generation to generation, which was created by Chawanon Wongtrakuljong. Using tightly interlaced bamboo strands, it reflects cooperation among APECeconomies.