A day before the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit’s official kickoff in San Francisco, East West Bancorp Inc.’s Dominic Ng took the stage at the Moscone Center for a press conference that included co-members of the APEC Business Advisory Council on Nov. 14.
Ng, chair of APEC’s Business Advisory Council, previewed the broad-ranging recommendation report his council compiled for the world leaders gathering that week, including President Joe Biden and President Xi Jinping.
“My wish, as well as the wish of our ABAC members, is that they will look at these recommendations, start adopting some of them, and turn them into policies and action plans,” Ng said before directing questions to his council colleagues.
APEC accounts for almost two-thirds of global GDP and operates on the basis of non-binding commitments taken on by member countries on a voluntary basis.
In recent years, amid U.S. tariffs and export controls on semiconductors, the summit has become a pulse check on relations between the U.S. and China.
The business council’s press conference was one of several high-profile appearances for Ng, who in addition to his 9-to-5 as the chairman and chief executive of the Pasadena-based East West Bank, served as chair to APEC’s Business Advisory Council this year while the United States hosted the summit.
The Monday before the press conference Ng hosted a lavish summit kick-off party with San Francisco Mayor London Breed.
Ng was put in the geopolitical spotlight last year when President Biden appointed the bank executive to chair the 21-nation business council, a move that drew the ire of some House Republicans who called for investigations into Ng, who is originally from Hong Kong, citing security concerns.
Despite political headwinds which prompted East West to release a statement condemning the accusations, Ng culminated his 18-month stint as the business council’s chair at the summit with a 54-page report outlining recommendations for political, economic and technological innovations to address global crises such as climate change and encroaching cyber security threats.
The report was developed over four meetings of the Business Advisory Council, where three appointed representatives from each country haggled over priorities and economic policy to push to some of the world’s most powerful trade forces. Representing the U.S. alongside Ng is Laura Lane, an executive vice president and chief corporate affairs officer at United Parcel Service Inc., and Ginger Lew, a senior policy advisor at the infrastructure private equity firm I Squared Capital.
Growing urgency regarding lagging progress for global greenhouse gas emission reduction spearheaded the Council’s published materials and was the key throughline in press conferences.
The Business Advisory Council released a standalone statement on climate, stating businesses do not need to wait for policymaker requirements to adopt sustainable operations and calling for the elimination of “inefficient” fossil fuel subsidies.
“The global landscape continues to be tremendously disrupted – standing still means going backwards,” Ng said in a statement on the recommendation report. “It has never been more important to work on building greater resilience for our businesses, better living standards for our communities, and a sustainable future.”
Emphasizing a more seamless and inclusive trade economy while balancing safety and innovation, Ng’s remarks echoed similar sentiments he expressed with the Business Journal in May, where the East West executive named cybersecurity and Environmental, Social and Governance as underrecognized aspects of the economy today.
Following this year’s summit, Ng will reprise his role as co-chair of the Business Advisory Council when Peru hosts the APEC summit next year.