The APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT) convened yesterday in a virtual meeting chaired by YB Dato’ Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali, Senior Minister and Minister of International Trade and Industry. This was the first time in the history of APEC that the MRT met in a fully virtual format. This is indeed a remarkable feat for Malaysia as the host of APEC 2020.

The convening of the Virtual MRT (VMRT) Meeting demonstrated Malaysia’s leadership in spearheading APEC’s new normal by providing its chairmanship in fully digital hosting format to the 21 APEC Economies. In addition, the meeting also saw the participation of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), as well as observers from the ASEAN Secretariat and the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC).

Malaysia welcomes the VMRT Statement that was issued by the Ministers. The Statement clearly outlines APEC commitment to support the work of WTO, advance efforts in trade facilitation initiatives as well as strengthen the resilience of supply chains in APEC. The Statement also acknowledges the importance of a free, open, fair, non-discriminatory, transparent and predictable trade and investment environment in APEC in order to drive economic recovery during this challenging time.

YB Dato’ Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali who is the MRT Chair for 2020, provided leadership and worked closely with his colleagues to facilitate consensus, leading to the issuance of the VMRT Statement, which also references the Declaration on Facilitating the Movement of Essential Goods in APEC.

“Malaysia welcomes the Declaration as it marks the region’s unwavering commitment to ensure that there is minimal disruption to the flow of essential goods, during this time of crisis. This accomplishment is particularly meaningful as Malaysia was the original proponent of this Declaration,” Dato’ Seri Mohamed Azmin said.

Malaysia also welcomes the progress being made in other key initiatives in APEC in response to the COVID-19 pandemic such as facilitation efforts for the movement of people, a digital platform for information exchange as well as the proposal to create an APEC sub-fund for combatting COVID-19 and facilitating economic recovery.

Last but not least, Malaysia, as the Economy entrusted to lead the drafting of the Post-2020 Vision which will serve as the guiding document for APEC in the coming years, is encouraged by the Ministers call for a meaningful and achievable Vision.

Ministry of International Trade & Industry (MITI)