In a joint statement issued at the online 31st APEC Ministerial Meeting on November 16, participating ministers stressed: “We will continue to cooperate, and act swiftly to foster quality growth, safeguard the lives and livelihoods of our people to enhance the resilience of our economies and support strong and inclusive economic recovery.”
The joint statement highlighted the importance of a free, open, fair, non-discriminatory, transparent and predictable trade and investment environment to drive economic recovery at such a challenging time.
“Any emergency trade measures designed to address COVID-19 should be targeted, proportionate, transparent, temporary, do not create unnecessary barriers to trade, and are consistent with WTO rules,” it reiterated.
“We will further advance the economic integration in the region, in a manner that is market-driven, including through the work on the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) agenda which will contribute to high quality and comprehensive regional undertakings,” ministers said in their statement.
A reliable, interoperable, open, accessible and secure ICT environment leads to a more interconnected and inclusive region, they stated, urging members to share best practices to harness the opportunities of digital economy and foster an enabling environment, acknowledging the importance of cooperation on facilitating the flow of data and strengthening consumer and business trust in digital transactions.
The 21 APEC member economies form a region accounting for 37 percent of the global population, 48 percent of the world trade, and 60 percent of the global GDP.