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Malaysia to host maiden virtual meeting for APEC Trade Ministers

Senior Minister and Minister of International Trade and Industry (MITI), Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali will chair the first digital meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2020 Trade Ministers on Saturday.

MITI said the Virtual Ministers Responsible for Trade (VMRT) meeting on July 25 was initially planned to be held in April in Kuala Lumpur, but has had to be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The meeting involving trade ministers from all 21 APEC economies aims to build consensus on concrete initiatives by the economies in addressing the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as fast-tracking the region towards economic recovery.

“This is key in realising strategic plans that will lead to concrete actions in safeguarding the APEC community’s socio-economic resilience post-pandemic,” it said in a statement today.

Meanwhile, Mohamed Azmin said the move is testament to Malaysia’s leadership role in APEC to ensure that thoughtful policy direction on trade and investment will be provided through deliberations among APEC trade ministers.

During the meeting, he will lead the discussions among his counterparts on follow-up measures and proposals by all the economies as stipulated in the MRT Statement on COVID-19 issued on May 5, 2020.

MITI added that the discussion will underline the importance of ensuring a free, fair, non-discriminatory, transparent, predictable and stable trade and investment environment to safeguard the economies of the region.

“The VMRT will also underscore the importance of ensuring that global supply chains and trading links remain open in order to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the lives and livelihoods of people,” it said.

Apart from the VMRT, the Second Virtual Extraordinary Senior Officials’ Meeting (VESOM 2) will be held a day prior to the VMRT.

Both digital meetings – VMRT and VESOM 2 — will be organised by the APEC 2020 National Secretariat under MITI.

MITI said despite the many challenges posed by the pandemic this year, Malaysia is intent on making the Post-2020 Vision as its most important deliverable for its hosting of APEC 2020.

“The Post-2020 Vision will serve as the guiding document for APEC, charting the direction for the region in the coming years.

“The Asia Pacific region looks to Malaysia’s leadership in delivering a relevant, future-proof and meaningful Post-2020 Vision for the region,” it added.