New Zealand confirmed its APEC host year priorities with a focus on responding to the economic impacts of COVID-19, as its first APEC 2021 virtual meeting was concluded from Wellington today.
The Informal Senior Officials’ Meeting (ISOM) included a symposium, which brought together global thinkers on issues important to APEC, an informal plenary meeting and an informal retreat. The meeting was attended by representatives of the 21 APEC member economies.
“At the Informal Senior Officials’ Meeting each year, the APEC economies discuss and prioritize all of the work that will take place throughout the following APEC year,” said Dr Rebecca Sta Maria, Executive Director of the APEC Secretariat.
“This week’s meeting has provided an opportunity for fresh discussions on the things that matter most to Asia-Pacific economies. New Zealand shared its host year priorities and there was broad agreement that much of the focus in the year ahead will be on COVID-19 and supporting the Asia-Pacific region’s economic response and recovery,” Dr Sta Maria added.
“In the wake of the unprecedented health and economic crisis caused by COVID-19, it is clear that the immediate economic response to COVID-19 will dominate APEC discussions in 2021, but as we work to recover we also need to focus on building back better,” said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who will chair APEC in 2021.
“There has never been a more important time for the region to join, work, and grow together - to share, rebuild, and recover APEC’s growth trajectory,” Jacinda Ardern said.
Economic activity in the APEC region is projected to contract by 2.5 percent in 2020, the first time that the region’s economy will shrink in three decades.
“While growth is starting to recover, economic impacts will be felt for some time to come. I urge member economies to work together in the spirit of cooperation to address these challenges effectively,” Jacinda Ardern said.
At the first virtual meeting chaired by New Zealand on Friday, the incoming host highlighted its commitment to helping APEC chart its course for the next twenty years and organizing its agenda around three policy priorities:
- Economic and trade policies that strengthen recovery, with a focus on the right macroeconomic, microeconomic and trade policy choices;
- Increasing inclusion and sustainability for recovery by building a better society for all people and generating a green recovery; and
- Pursuing innovation and a digitally enabled recovery by accelerating the APEC region’s work in these areas.
New Zealand’s theme for APEC 2021 is “Join. Work. Grow. Together. Haumi ē, Hui ē, Tāiki ē”.
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