The economic leaders of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) vowed to work together to combat and mitigate the impact of the coronavirus diseases (COVID-19) pandemic to the economy.
“Our coordinated action and cooperation are more important than ever to overcome the challenges of COVID-19 and realise new and emerging opportunities for prosperity for all,” the leaders said in their 2020 Kuala Lumpur Declaration after they met virtually for the first time, for the 27th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting.
APEC, an inter-governmental forum consisting of 21 member economies including the Philippines, aims support sustainable economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region.
The APEC leaders said they are united in their determination to enable the Asia-Pacific region to recover from the impacts of the pandemic and committed to safeguarding the people’s health and protecting the their lives.
“We will continue to work together to use all available policy tools to support an inclusive, effective and sustained response to COVID-19, minimising its impact on people’s livelihoods,” the leaders said.
The APEC leaders said there is a need to enhance stimulus measures that facilitate economic recovery and job creation. They stressed the importance of the following to facilitate economic recovery:
- improving fiscal sustainability and transparency to support long-term resilient economic growth and future financing needs.
- the need to support developing economies in combatting COVID-19
They also welcomed the establishment of a digital platform for coordinated sharing of information on COVID-related policy responses.
Among the strategies being eyed to improve the digital platform:
- open new opportunities for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs)
- promote innovative technologies
- foster a reliable, interoperable, open, accessible and secure ICT environment
- narrow the existing digital, skills and regulatory gaps
- encourage development in digital infrastructure and transformation
The leaders vowed to:
- cooperate to facilitate the movement of essential goods and services
- cooperate to facilitate the essential movement of people in a safe manner
- help identify and resolve unnecessary barriers to trade
- help strengthen the resilience of supply chains
“We recognise that science, technology and innovation are important to the region’s post-COVID-19 recovery,” they said.
The APEC leaders vowed to foster an enabling environment for the development of the digital economy. They also recognized the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 on MSMEs, women and other with untapped economic potentials.
APEC is composed of:
Australia; Brunei Darussalam; Canada; Chile; People’s Republic of China; Hong Kong, China; Indonesia; Japan; Republic of Korea; Malaysia; Mexico; New Zealand; Papua New Guinea; Peru; Philippines; The Russian Federation; Singapore; Chinese Taipei; Thailand and the United States of America