The waste we throw away has a tendency of coming back in our air, water and food, directly affecting our livelihoods, economy and health. The theme chapter discusses a more sustainable production model — the circular economy — which minimises waste and optimises resource use by incorporating reuse, repurposing and recycling of materials into manufacturing and logistics. It discusses new business and trade opportunities provided by the circular economy in general and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Regional cooperation has an important role to play in facilitating the transition to a circular economy.
The next chapter on economic and trade trends shows that the APEC region has been slowing down in 2019, even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The region’s GDP growth slowed down to 3.6 percent in 2019 while merchandise trade value contracted due to uncertainty arising largely from persistent trade and technology tensions. In 2020, the APEC region is expected to contract by 2.7 percent due to the economic fallout from the pandemic, equivalent to an estimated output loss of USD 2.1 trillion. Getting back on the path of economic recovery post-pandemic requires a coordinated approach that could only be achieved through regional cooperation. APEC as a region needs to bolster health systems, improve social protection, exercise prudent fiscal management, and maintain monetary stability to be able to deploy emergency measures during episodes of crisis.