APEC needs to create a more resilient region to overcome pandemic – CTI
18 Jun 2020
The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) needs to create a more resilient APEC region that can overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, speed up the economic recovery and be better prepared for future emergency situations.
Chair of the Committee of Trade and Investment (CTI) Krasna Bobenrieth said business as usual is no longer possible, and as such, the capacity of members to adjust and work on common priorities, exchange best practices, and to collaboratively find solutions to new challenges is of paramount importance.
CTI is APEC’s largest group and is often at the frontlines of the forum’s work to achieve free and open trade and investment.
“When COVID-19 first started to garner attention at the beginning of 2020, nobody foresaw the widespread health, economic and social impact it would have.
“While the world has experienced terrible pandemics before, it’s hard to remember one with such far reaching consequences in our lives, societies and economies, and that affected so many different parts of the world in such a short time,” Bobenrieth wrote in a blog today.
She noted that the region had already been experiencing trade headwinds whereby the value of APEC exports and imports contracted by 2-3 per cent in 2019, even before COVID-19 was in anyone’s vocabulary.
Tensions related to trade and technology have been weighing down heavily on the region’s trade dynamism and will not contribute to the post-pandemic economic recovery, she said.
Bobenrieth said trade and investment, which are key components for economic growth, are severely affected during the pandemic.
The World Trade Organisation had highlighted that world trade is expected to fall between 13 per cent and 32 per cent in 2020 across all sectors of the economy.
Currently, APEC committees and groups are eagerly working on ways to identify and tackle the variety of problems caused by COVID-19 and CTI is no exception to it, she said.
The CTI is the primary vehicle for advancing APEC’s work on trade and investment liberalisation and has currently over 40 initiatives in its pipeline, covering topics related to areas such as support for the multilateral trading system, regional economic integration, trade facilitation and connectivity, and inclusive approaches to trade and investment.
It also has a responsibility and an important role to play in contributing to the collective fight against the multiple effects of this pandemic, she said.