The 21 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ministers responsible for trade have committed to work together to ensure trade and investment continue to flow to help counter the impact of COVID-19.
“In these troubled times, our region has recognised how important it is to act in concert to keep supply chains open and trade flowing, especially in essential goods and services,” Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker said.
“This new commitment will promote a more stable trading environment for our food exporters. It will also help provide reliable access to the critical medical supplies we need.
“Global cooperation, not national protectionism, is the best way to address the global challenge of this pandemic. This APEC commitment complements our other efforts, which include ongoing trade negotiations, the recent New Zealand-Singapore Declaration on essential goods, and similar commitments we have made in concert with other countries.”
APEC trade ministers also acknowledged the economic impact of COVID-19 on the most vulnerable communities and sectors, and undertook to ensure their recovery was a focus.
New Zealand, and other like-minded countries, see trade as playing a key role in the economic recovery from COVID-19.
So New Zealand has also joined other WTO Members overnight in a statement supporting the multilateral trading system and highlighting its role in responding to COVID-19.
“In this spirit we also recently joined a COVID-19 response alongside Australia, Canada, Singapore and South Korea to facilitate the flow of goods and services as well as the essential movement of people,” David Parker said.
“It is in all our interests to ensure that essential goods and, in time, people involved in essential services, can go freely to where they are needed, while prioritising necessary public health objectives.
“We are also pleased to welcome the United Arab Emirates to the joint statement between New Zealand and Singapore, and now nine other countries on Ensuring Supply Chain Connectivity amidst the COVID-19 situation.”
The 21 APEC economies are: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, China, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, the United States of America, and Vietnam.
The APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade statement is here: https://www.apec.org/Meeting-Papers/Sectoral-Ministerial-Meetings/Trade/2020_trade