Malaysia leads APEC consensus to ease movement of essential goods


ASIA-PACIFIC Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies under the leadership of Malaysia has reached a consensus to ease the movement of essential goods, according to the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI).

It said APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT), in a virtual meeting chaired by the Senior Minister and Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali (picture), issued a statement that clearly outlines APEC commitment to support the work of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and advancing the efforts in trade facilitation initiatives as well as strengthens the resilience of supply chains in APEC.

“The statement also acknowledges the importance of a free, open, fair, non-discriminatory, transparent and predictable trade and investment environment in APEC in order to drive economic recovery during this challenging time,” MITI said in a statement today.

Mohamed Azmin, who is the MRT Chair for 2020, said the statement also references the Declaration on Facilitating the Movement of Essential Goods in APEC.

“Malaysia welcomes the declaration as it marks the region’s unwavering commitment to ensure that there is minimal disruption to the flow of essential goods, during this time of crisis,” he was quoted in the statement.

The minister said the accomplishment was particularly meaningful as Malaysia was the original proponent of the declaration.

Meanwhile, MITI also said Malaysia welcomed the progress made in other key initiatives in APEC in response to the COVID-19 pandemic such as facilitation efforts for the movement of people, a digital platform for information exchange as well as the proposal to create an APEC sub-fund for combatting COVID-19 and facilitating economic recovery.

“Last but not least, Malaysia, as the Economy entrusted to lead the drafting of the Post-2020 Vision which will serve as the guiding document for APEC in the coming years, is encouraged by the ministers call for a meaningful and achievable Vision,” it added.

The virtual MRT meeting on Saturday is the first MRT meeting conducted in a fully virtual format, demonstrating Malaysia’s leadership in spearheading the group’s new normal by chairing and hosting the meeting in a fully digital format.

The meeting also saw the participation of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) as well as observers from the ASEAN Secretariat and the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC).