APEC economies pledge joint efforts to facilitate global recovery amid pandemic
15 Nov 2021


WELLINGTON, Nov. 13 (Xinhua) -- The economic leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) vowed Saturday to boost global economic recovery amid the COVID-19 pandemic.


The bloc also launched the Aotearoa (New Zealand) Plan of Action, a further step towards achieving the Putrajaya Vision 2040 for future cooperation.




In her opening speech at the virtually-held 28th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who chaired the meeting, reaffirmed her confidence in multilateral cooperation as leaders look to emerge together from the global crisis and set a new path for APEC as a stronger international forum in tackling the Asia-Pacific's most important challenges.


In a joint declaration, the APEC economic leaders said it is a top priority in 2021 to boost global economic recovery and ensure growth rebounds quickly.


The APEC members vowed to continue to support global efforts to share vaccines equitably and expand vaccine manufacture and supply, including through the voluntary transfer of vaccine production technologies on mutually agreed terms, and through voluntary reduction of the cost of COVID-19 vaccines and related medical goods.


They also supported deeper regional and international collaboration on COVID-19, according to the declaration.


Noting that structural reform will also be a critical tool for promoting economic recovery, they welcomed the Enhanced APEC Agenda for Structural Reform, which provides for collaboration on growth-focused reforms designed to be inclusive, resilient, sustainable and innovation-friendly.


Stressing the pillar-role of trade to ensure future prosperity, the bloc said the rules-based multilateral trading system, with the World Trade Organization (WTO) at its core, plays an important role in economic recovery.


They also promised to advance economic integration in the region and the APEC Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) agenda, to contribute to high quality and comprehensive regional undertakings.


Ardern said APEC has united the region in a coordinated response to the biggest economic downturn in 75 years.


Calling the COVID-19 pandemic a common challenge for all regional member, Ardern said that all leaders need to explore ways to get as many people vaccinated as fast as possible, keep businesses afloat and people in jobs, resume safe cross-border travel, accelerate economic recovery and ensure solidarity for an equitable response.


Thailand took over the rotating chairmanship of APEC from New Zealand, declaring the theme for 2022 APEC as "Open. Connect. Balance." Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said the 2022 theme expressed a hope that APEC can be "opened" to all opportunities, "connected" in every dimension, and "balanced" in all aspects.




As the meeting ended on Saturday, the APEC leaders launched the Aotearoa Plan of Action towards achieving the Putrajaya Vision 2040.


"While it underpins prosperity in the short term, leaders have also used the Aotearoa Plan of Action to focus on the choices that will support the Asia-Pacific's future generations, like decarbonisation and empowering our indigenous peoples," Ardern said.


Siah Hwee Ang, international business professor at Victoria University of Wellington, called the action plan as the most significant achievements for the meeting.


"Last year the leaders set up the APEC 2040 vision around trade, investment, innovation, digitalisation, inclusiveness and sustainable and inclusive growth. The agreement has to be made this year," he told Xinhua after the meeting.


He said, "It's not like one or two years that is going to stop us all. All it means that maybe our things around trade and investment will be different. A lot of things will be more digital."


The Aotearoa Plan of Action sets out individual and collective actions on three economic drivers, namely trade and investment, innovation and digitalisation, as well as strong, balanced, secure, sustainable and inclusive growth.


The APEC member economies reaffirmed support for WTO rules in delivering a well-functioning multilateral trading system and promoting the stability and predictability of international trade flows.


They will implement APEC's Connectivity Blueprint, including by strengthening connectivity and resilient supply chains within APEC, according to the plan.


They also vowed to promote sustainable growth across sectors and the development of cost effective low and zero emissions technologies, sustainable finance and carbon pricing mechanisms, while ensuring energy security, access, reliability and resilience through energy transition.


On digitalization, the APEC member economies will strengthen digital infrastructure, accelerate digital transformation, narrow the digital divide, as well as cooperate on facilitating the flow of data and strengthening consumer and business trust in digital transactions.

Source: Xinhua