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12 May 2009

Flu pandemic worries Apec business leaders

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The Apec Business Advisory Council (Abac), composed top private businessmen in the Asia-Pacific, is concerned the threat of an Influenza A pandemic could affect businesses already reeling from the impact of the global financial crisis, accordin to a report in Brunei Times.

Abac, the voice of the private sector in Apec, will meet in Brunei on May 12-15 to develop recommendations on how Apec governments can respond to the global economic crisis as well as the pandemic threat.

In a statement, Apec said, "Abac highlights the critical need for timely information about the influenza to be released by relevant authorities to the regional business community to help individual companies better prepare continuity plans and implement counter measures.

"Abac also stresses the critical requirement of adequate emergency preparedness by business and, derived from our past experience with the avian influenza, that public-private partnership and effective communication channels are key components to the response to a potential health pandemic."

Abac also proposed for the region's SMEs and businesses to find out where they stand in terms of pandemic preparedness using a checklist found at, which was developed with the UN System Influenza Coordination.

In the statement, Apec said Abac has proposed for members to share information on stimulus packages that have been rolled out by Apec members in a bid to counter the global recession.

Abac will also look at proposals on issues such as financial protectionism and trade financing.

Citing a nine per cent year-on-year decline in world trade for the first time in 25 years, Abac said it applauded the pledge made by G20 leaders during their summit in London on April 2 to promote trade and reject protectionism as key components of the global economic recovery effort.

The council had sent a letter to the nine leaders from the 21 Apec economies who were involved in the G20 meeting, reiterating the importance of clear and coordinated action by both Apec and non-Apec G20 members to fight protectionism.






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