KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 16 — The role of trade and investment will be topping the agenda as trade ministers meet virtually at the 31st Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Ministerial Meeting here tonight.
Senior Minister cum Minister of International Trade and Industry, Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali, said in his opening remarks to delegates that this topic was crucial in navigating the region along a path of robust economic recovery post-pandemic.
“This commitment to the relentless pursuit of free and open trade and investment, made even more imperative during these challenging times, demonstrates our resolute determination to the value-system of Apec.
“This underscores the will and conviction of the Asia-Pacific to continue to resist the forces of protectionism in whatever form that they may come,” he said.
Mohamed Azmin, who chairs the meeting, said the region would also strengthen the support to a well-functioning rules-based multilateral trading system and steadfast to advance the development agenda of the World Trade Organisation.
He said Apec made it a priority to improve the narrative of trade and investment by translating these elements into inclusive economic growth that brought palpable benefits and greater wellbeing to people.
In this regard, he said, the region had placed particular emphasis on shared prosperity to enable more effective and meaningful economic participation by all segments of the societies.
He said Apec also reaffirmed support for economic and technical cooperation, particularly for micro, small and medium enterprises, women and vulnerable groups.
“We also recognised the need to continue to enhance capacity building and technical assistance to those most impacted by the pandemic,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mohamed Azmin said the travel bubbles that were emerging within the region were a crucial development as these could possibly redefine the future of travel and tourism.
“These bubbles are also central to revitalising the essential movement of people within Apec,” he said.
Leaders and ministers from Apec’s 21 member economies will convene virtually this week, led by Malaysia as the host of Apec 2020 for the second time.
They will address the challenges of the pandemic in the region and to pave the road to recovery after Covid-19. — Bernama