KUALA LUMPUR, May 9 -- The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT) has issued a statement calling for APEC Economies to hasten the fight against COVID-19 while undertaking the necessary steps to remedy the health and economic impact of the pandemic.
The Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), which led the process of consensus-building among the 21-member grouping, said APEC Trade Ministers have underlined the importance of ensuring free, fair, non-discriminatory, transparent, predictable and stable trade and investment environment to safeguard the region's economy.
The trade ministers also called on the economies to ensure that global supply chains and trading links remain open in order to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the lives and livelihood of the people.
"They expressed concerns with regards to the impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable developing economies and acknowledged the need to implement certain emergency measures to effectively address the challenges presented by the crisis.
"They concurred that there is a need to place a specific emphasis on providing timely and affordable access to essential healthcare services, particularly for members of society that are more vulnerable to the pandemic," MITI said in a statement today.
The call by the APEC MRT was a clear demonstration of the region’s collective commitment to respond decisively to the pandemic and navigate the Asia Pacific towards a path of economic recovery.
"The ministers also urged member economies to act swiftly and put in place measures to keep their markets open and ensure that the flow of essential goods, services and people remain uninterrupted.
"They also recognised that the digital economy ecosystem provides opportunities to ease the adverse impact of the pandemic and noted that, by further harnessing the potential of digital technologies, economies can advance sustainable economic growth within the region," it said.
Malaysia is the host of APEC 2020 and MITI is the National Secretariat of APEC 2020. At present, all APEC 2020’s programmes including the MRT meeting, which was scheduled for April, has been postponed until further notice in view of the COVID19 pandemic.
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