AMM wants APEC Economies’ concerted action on COVID-19 vaccines

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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 18 — The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Ministerial Meeting (AMM) has called for strengthened solidarity to foster quality growth and enhance the resilience of APEC Economies towards a robust economic recovery.

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The ministers also reaffirmed their support for the World Trade Organisation, noting that the rules-based multilateral trading system is central to enhance market predictability and business confidence.

Senior Minister and Minister of International Trade and Industry, Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali who chaired the virtual meeting on Nov 16, described the COVID-19 pandemic as possibly the harshest economic crisis of modern times.

“We have to be realistic and pragmatic in our responses to the current situation. While combatting the pandemic remains a top priority, economic recovery must also be accorded equal attention.

“As the impact on the economy has been severe, APEC member economies must forge closer collaboration and find long-term and sustainable solutions not just to deal with the current situation, but other future contingencies that may affect us on the global scale,” he said in a statement.

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He said the AMM acknowledged that the narrative of trade and investment needed to be improved beyond conventional concepts, “in order to bring palpable benefits to our people”.

Mohamed Azmin also recognised that there are now stronger calls for a new global economic architecture, which considers the distributive effects of growth on the prosperity of the people.

“The need for this new architecture becomes even more pressing now, as the World Bank estimates an additional 150 million people will be pushed into extreme poverty, as a result of the pandemic,” he said.

He said the AMM also underscored the importance of working closely to leverage latest cutting edge technology and exploit the advances brought about by digital transformation to facilitate the reopening of economic activities, particularly for the benefit of MSMEs, women, youth and vulnerable groups.

“A key call for action of the AMM is the need for APEC Economies to come together to ensure equitable access to safe, effective and affordable COVID-19 vaccines.

“Further, we should regard the COVID-19 vaccines as public goods that are critical to protect our health,” stressed Mohamed Azmin. – BERNAMA

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