APEC economies agree to ease movement of goods

by HARIZAH KAMEL/ pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

ASIA-PACIFIC Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies have reached a consensus to ease the movement of essential goods.

According to the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT) in a virtual meeting issued a statement that clearly outlines APEC commitment to support the work of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and advance the efforts in trade facilitation initiatives as well as strengthen 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 to drive economic recovery during this challenging time,” it said in a statement yesterday.

MITI Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali (picture) who chaired the virtual MRT meeting said Malaysia welcomes the declaration as it marks the region’s commitment to ensure minimal disruption to the flow of essential goods during this time of crisis.

“This accomplishment is particularly meaningful as Malaysia was the original proponent of this declaration,” he added.

Furthermore, MITI said Malaysia also welcomes the progress being made in other key initiatives in APEC in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

This consisted of facilitation efforts for the movement of people, a digital platform for information exchange and the proposal to create an APEC sub-fund for combating Covid-19 and facilitating economic recovery.

“Lastly, Malaysia as the economy entrusted to lead the drafting of the Post-2020 Vision, serves as the guiding document for APEC in the coming years, is encouraged by the ministers‘ call for a meaningful and achievable vision,” it said.

This was the first time in APEC’s history that the MRT met in a fully virtual format, a remarkable feat for Malaysia as the host of APEC 2020.

The convening of the meeting demonstrated Malaysia’s leadership in spearheading APEC’s new normal by providing its chairmanship in fully digital hosting format to the 21 APEC economies.

Additionally, the meeting also saw the participation of the APEC Business Advisory Council, as well as observers from the Asean Secretariat and the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council.