CYBERJAYA, Dec 4 — Malaysia will embrace all challenges, including the downside risks from the external front and trade policy tensions that still linger, to ensure the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) 2020 is a success where benefits from trade, investment and economic cooperation, are felt and enjoyed by its people.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Apec is important to Malaysia as the region accounts for more than 80 per cent of the country’s total trade and more than 70 per cent of foreign direct investment in the manufacturing sector.
“About 40 per cent of the jobs created are directly attributable to activities linked to exports.
“So, it is also in our interest to ensure that this region remains business-friendly and that trade and investment policies bring prosperity for all, right down to the man in the street,” he said when launching the Apec 2020 here today.
The event was attended by Apec representatives, ambassadors and high commissioners, business leaders, as well as government officials.
As the host of Apec 2020, Mahathir said Malaysia would continue the work on empowering women in the economy; financial inclusion; youth engagement; sustainable development; and creating a conducive environment for entrepreneurs, start-ups and social enterprise.
He said Malaysia has chosen the theme ‘Optimising Human Potential Towards a Future of Shared Prosperity’ for Apec 2020, indicating that the philosophy underpinning this gathering is ‘Shared Prosperity.’
“It is time that member economies to consider embracing this philosophy and embed it in the current economic model.
“Improving the overall wellbeing of our people and enabling every citizen to have a more decent living standard will make Apec sustainable and relevant as a grouping in the long run,” he said.
Dr Mahathir also urged Apec members to be united and harness its collective strength to overcome issues and challenges, realign its faith and charge forward.
In order to restore faith, he said Apec members need to give meaning to their economic development efforts and must work together towards an equitable share of benefits, from large corporations to small-and-medium enterprises right down to our citizens.
“Apec is well-positioned to capitalise on its strength of voluntary, non-binding and consensus decision-making to instil and advocate more meaningful results in the global trade and investment arena.
“As a reality check, Apec initiatives must now move past liberalisation initiatives to be more inclusive and involve all segments of the population,” he said.
Dr Mahathir invited all Apec Economic Leaders to Malaysia in November 2020 to discuss the issues that matter to the resilience of Apec, trade and investment as well as its economic wellbeing.
He said the Post-2020 Vision for Apec, which Malaysia would launch next year, would chart the future direction of Apec towards ensuring its continued relevance under a more inclusive approach.
“It will be built on the Bogor Goals as well as a value-add and complement the work of Apec over the past 30 years and preserve its status as a premier economic forum for years to come,” he said.
Apec, comprising 21 economies, including Malaysia, is a regional economic forum established in 1989 to leverage the growing interdependence of the Asia Pacific; and aims to create greater prosperity by promoting balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure growth, and accelerating regional economic integration. — Bernama