Caterpillar is Helping Shape Asia Pacific's Future with ABAC

Last month, the Caterpillar delegation, led by Construction Industries Group President Ed Rapp, attended the third Asia Pacific Business Advisory Council (ABAC) meeting. Under the leadership of ABAC China, ABAC III focused on strengthening infrastructure and connectivity, sustainable development and promoting realization of the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP).

As part of its host year responsibilities, China took over as chair of ABAC and declared ABAC’s 2014 theme as “Building Asia Pacific Community, Mapping Long-Term Prosperity,” which has four priorities:

  1. Accelerating Regional Economic Integration
  2. Championing Sustainable Development
  3. Supporting Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) & Fostering Entrepreneurship, and
  4. Strengthening Infrastructure and Connectivity

According to Rapp, the meeting resulted in several key accomplishments that will benefit Caterpillar long term.

“We’re gaining traction with our Infrastructure Checklist. We achieved full endorsement on the APEC mining study and initiative, and we introduced a proposal to promote remanufacturing,” explains Rapp. “These areas impact either the products Caterpillar manufactures in this region or the products we export to these countries, so our involvement with ABAC as a part of APEC is essential as we work together to improve infrastructure and foster regional value chains. We’re making progress, but there are still a lot of opportunities and challenges ahead of us.”

The Infrastructure Checklist, which basically provides a venue for countries to focus attention and resources on expanding infrastructure, increased the number of ABAC members engaged in using the checklist. Once completed by the APEC economies, they will be able to measure their performance and promote a better understanding of the complex policies and institutional practices needed to attract and effectively utilize domestic and foreign investment in infrastructure. Public and private partnerships are an indispensable part of attracting infrastructure investment, which hinges upon the policy environment set by the governments.       

In the area of mining, ABAC has commissioned a report to provide an analysis of the current and future potential of the mining sector in the Asia-Pacific region.

“The mining sector is a critical driver of growth in the Asia Pacific region,” says Rapp. “In spite of its importance, APEC’s focus on mining has been limited, so the introduction of this analysis will open dialogue and partnership between the public and private sector, which will be critical for long-term success.”

ABAC also strongly supported APEC’s proposal to reinvigorate its Pathfinder on Facilitating Trade in Remanufactured Goods through organized workshops and capacity building activities focused on remanufacturing and detailed recommendations for APEC leaders.

“Remanufacturing provides a sustainable means to produce ‘good as new products’ in a number of sectors for a fraction of the energy and resources required to manufacture newly created products,” explains Rapp. “Addressing barriers to trade in remanufactured goods will result in tangible benefits for the environment and the regional economy through cost savings and job creation.”
Rapp also chaired a special roundtable on connectivity with APEC officials, private sector representatives and ABAC members. ABAC strongly supported the initiative to adopt an APEC Blueprint on Connectivity to bring diverse markets, businesses and people closer together to facilitate trade and investment for delivering greater long-term growth across the Asia-Pacific.

“As infrastructure development and investment progress in this region, we must ensure a coordinated effort across the region that integrates common data standards, regulatory standards and the ability to freely move goods, services and people across the region,” he says. “If we can get that right, we can improve that regions competitiveness, and with that, improve their opportunities, which will in turn improve our opportunities at Caterpillar.”

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Since joining Caterpillar as a pricing analyst in 1979, Rapp has held positions related to pricing, production scheduling, marketing, dealer development, manufacturing and product development.

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