Apec host calls for long-term, sustainable solutions beyond pandemic

Apec host calls for long-term, sustainable solutions beyond pandemic

KUALA LUMPUR: The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) post-2020 vision must contain long-term and sustainable solutions to deal with Covid-19 challenges and other future contingencies that may affect the region on the global scale.

Sharing some insights after the virtual Apec ministerial meeting today, Senior Minister cum Minister of International Trade and Industry, Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali said the member economies had discussed and deliberated Apec’s aspiration for the present and the future.

“While it takes into consideration the current global challenges, it is also a forward-looking and ambitious document that will drive economic recovery, spur growth in the region and bring greater prosperity to be shared among the people of the Asia-Pacific.

“This also augurs well with the discourse on the new global economic architecture that is to look at economic progress not just in terms of gross domestic product or statistics alone, but also to consider necessary human aspects such as wellbeing and living standards as markers for economic growth,” he said.

Mohamed Azmin who chaired the meeting said discussions among economists on the new Apec vision is ongoing.

“I must say that I am encouraged with the significantly positive progress of the discussion,” he said during a virtual press conference.

On the Leaders’ Declaration (LD) which was last issued during Apec 2018, he said discussion among economists was still ongoing.

“Since the LD is a consensus statement that takes on board the views and implementation capabilities of all economies, we expect the execution of the actionable items within the declaration will be operationalised seamlessly.

“As you are aware, it has been two years since we last issued a LD encapsulating our consensus. In my view, this should motivate us even further to reach consensus and issue a LD this year,” he said.

He added that the LD would provide an assurance that leaders of Apec economies are not complacent in providing the best to the people.

“It is a pledge of our leaders to enhance efforts towards achieving an inclusive and sustainable economic growth especially right now in cushioning the socio-economic impact which has impacted our people’s wellbeing and livelihoods.

“It will underscore our leaders’ determination in ensuring long-term benefits for our people,” he stressed.

Mohamed Azmin noted that Malaysia during the meeting, called for the declaration on facilitating the movement of essential goods in Apec.

This declaration, he said, seeks to ensure that essential goods are able to move across borders without being subjected to unfair trade measures as well as expedite economic recovery in the Apec region.

“In addition, this declaration will certainly continue to enhance more conducive environment for trade and investment flows and activities among the Apec economies by ensuring an open, vibrant, transparent and sustainable trading system.

“We also call for special emphasis on inclusive economic growth that results in tangible benefits for all our people and businesses, particularly those most vulnerable to the pandemic, including women, youths and marginalised groups,” he added.

The pandemic has enabled Apec to accelerate the digital technology transformation initiative.

APEC economies continue to support further action to strengthen the digitalisation agenda to promote greater regional integration and drive economic growth.

Another issue raised during the meeting that garnered much attention and deliberation was the level of ambition to be pursued in the Apec post-2020 vision.

There were also divergent views regarding the need to strengthen the multilateral trading systems and deepen the regional economic integration through the pursuit of the Free Trade Agreements (FTAs).

Malaysia as a host for Apec 2020, works collaboratively with all Apec economies including the US and China to arrive at middle ground solutions on this difficult area that will be amendable to all.-Bernama