Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) has urged member economies to be receptive of its proposed Declaration on Facilitating the Movement of Essential Goods to boost regional trade.
The declaration proposes for all APEC economies to offer a self-determined list of goods for unilateral tariff concessions.
APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting chair Hairil Yahri Yaacob sees the declaration as a potential accomplishment for the forum.
“I call upon colleagues to exercise as much flexibility as possible in accommodating this declaration in order to accomplish a concrete deliverable for the Virtual Ministers Responsible for Trade (VMRT) Meeting,” he said.
He said this in his welcoming remarks at the Second Virtual Extraordinary Senior Officials’ Meeting (VESOM2) today, which was attended by all APEC economies, the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) as well as selected observers from international and regional organisations.
Hairil said VESOM2 will take stock of its progress and determine concrete action and next steps in achieving its assigned goals, which will be presented to the Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT) when they meet tomorrow.
“It is important that we can present a united front on these initiatives and provide assurance to our ministers that we are able to deliver according to their instructions,” he added.
He had also stressed that APEC must strengthen its ties in order to better adapt to the trials and tribulations brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, subsequently coming out of it stronger than ever.
He noted that in May, the senior officials were instructed to take all necessary steps to ensure that the flow of essential goods and services across the region remained undisrupted.
“We were also instructed to develop a coordinated approach to collect and share information on policies and measures regarding COVID-19 and its economic effect,” he said.
According to the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), the VMRT meeting was scheduled to be held in April in Kuala Lumpur but postponed to July 25 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Senior Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali who is also MITI minister will chair the first digital APEC 2020 trade ministers meeting. — BERNAMA