KUALA LUMPUR, July 25 -- The Virtual Ministers Responsible for Trade (VMRT) meeting has charted a huge success, achieving several consensus from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies, whereby agreements have been reached with a joint statement.
Senior Minister and Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali said APEC member economies today recalled the APEC MRT Statement on COVID-19 issued on May 5, 2020, and reaffirmed its commitment to effectively mitigate the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This includes to promptly navigate the region towards a path of resilient, sustainable, inclusive, and expediting the economic recovery.
He said the APEC economies had also reached a consensus to allow the free flow of trade and investment and to minimise the disruption on world supply chains that would impact their economies.
"I am happy to note the consensus we have reached to address this issue and all economies agreed that we must have a free flow of trade and investment among the member economies.
"In fact, we have a joint proposal among New Zealand, Singapore and Malaysia to initiate this initiative," he said.
The consensus is an important signal to the global community in that the APEC member economies succeeded not only in coming up with a statement but also an accord to jointly strive to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic for the wellbeing of the people as well as the APEC member economies, he said.
“This to me is an extraordinary success because as we are aware in 2018 the APEC member economies failed to come up with a joint statement as at that time there was the situation of a trade war between the United States and China.
"Last year, there was also no statement due to the failure to hold the APEC summit in Chile,” he told reporters after the VMRT meeting today.
According to Mohamed Azmin, 2020 is an important year whereby Malaysia as the host had undertaken several measures and initiatives to engage with and hold a series of consultations with the APEC member economies since last year.
"I am confident these engagements have resulted in a few significant successes such as those achieved in May and today," he said.
Commenting on Malaysia's deliverables at the VMRT meeting today, Mohamed Azmin said the country had proposed three deliverables this time.
These included the initiative to improve narrative in trade investment wherein Malaysia does not want focus to be given only on Gross Domestic Product as the indicator as it is not sufficient, and proposed several other indicators to gauge the prosperity of a country.
"We have also led in the shared prosperity philosophy for all APEC member economies and it has been well received in an environment we are facing today," he said.
The second deliverable is on participation in the digital economy, where there is a need to involve women, youths, and start-ups to embrace technology to accelerate the adoption of new technologies.
Thirdly, Malaysia stressed on innovative sustainability which is important for APEC member economies to start this initiative to continue generating growth for the member economies, he said.
"These are the deliverables led by Malaysia, however we are not able to implement them completely this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic currently, but they will be continued in the coming year."
Besides that, he added that Malaysia at this conference, is preparing the post-2020 Vision for the APEC member economies and the progress of the draft is positive.
The draft had been distributed to the APEC member economies and the next meeting will be held on Aug 13 this year as scheduled, he said.
"We believe that in several upcoming discussions, we will once again come to an agreement and consensus to be decided by the APEC Leaders this year.
"For us, this Vision is important as the Bogor Goals will end this year. Once again Malaysia will play a crucial role together with APEC economies to chart APEC's next direction," he added.
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