APEC leaders call for closer cooperation for post-pandemic recovery
The leaders of the 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) members vowed to strengthen cooperation during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, as they tele-met on Friday during the 27th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting.
Under the theme of "Optimizing Human potential toward a Resilient Future of shared Prosperity. Pivot. Prioritize. Progress.," the leaders discussed collective regional actions to accelerate economic recovery, with one focus on boosting more inclusive economic growth.
"As a grouping whose economies constitute about 60 percent of the global economy, APEC assumes a central role in spearheading post-pandemic economic recovery," Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin of Malaysia, the host of this year's APEC meetings, said during his opening remarks at the virtual meeting.
"It goes without saying that our priority is to pool efforts in countering the coronavirus," Russian President Vladimir Putin said in his speech.
"Russia is ready to cooperate with all the interested countries, including, of course, its APEC partners, as closely as possible," he added.
Chilean President Sebastian Pinera on Friday called on the APEC economies to continue to cooperate and work closely with international organizations, the private sector and civil society.
He highlighted the importance of jointly fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and underscored the importance of a multilateral trading system, reaffirming his country's commitment to carrying out necessary reforms of the World Trade Organization.
Peruvian Interim President Francisco Sagasti proposed universal, timely and balanced access to treatments and vaccines against COVID-19 at the conference.
He also underscored the necessity of promoting structural economic reforms to benefit all economic agents, in order to facilitate access to credit, technology and training.
At the end of the meeting, Muhyiddin handed over the APEC chairmanship to Jacinda Ardern, prime minister of New Zealand, which holds the next year's chairmanship.
In a brief address, Ardern said New Zealand as the host is committed to fostering an inclusive, sustainable and innovative future for the Asia-Pacific region.
In a declaration issued after the virtually-held meeting, APEC leaders announced their commitment to combatting and mitigating the impacts of COVID-19, improving the narrative of trade and investment, inclusive economic participation through the digital economy and technology, driving innovative and inclusive sustainability, and strengthening stakeholder engagement, during "one of the most challenging health and economic crises of our times."
The Kuala Lumpur Declaration is one of two important documents that came out of this year's APEC meeting, with the other being the "APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040," which will chart the future of the region and replace the Bogor Goals that expires this year.
The APEC is a regional economic forum established in 1989 to leverage the growing interdependence of the Asia-Pacific. The members aim to create greater prosperity for the people of the region by promoting balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure growth and by accelerating regional economic integration.