Duterte asks free, open trade APEC region

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DAVAO CITY — President Rodrigo Duterte Rodrigo on Friday had fellow member economies of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) to maintain free and fair trade to attain sustained economic recovery from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

 In his message during the 2020 APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting, Duterte emphasized the role of APEC in spurring economic growth and prosperity which has alleviated the millions of people out of poverty in the pacific rim.

Recognizing the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as the defining challenge of the present generation, Duterte spelled out areas of cooperation for APEC member economies.

The current world health crisis must encourage leaders to further strengthen their commitment to craft a bolder and specific step to ensure economic stability.

APEC, he said, should ensure the unimpeded flow of medical supplies and technologies, especially COVID-19 vaccines. There’s a need to defeat the virus everywhere so strengthening partnerships in vaccine development is necessary, he noted.

 “We commit to addressing the widening income inequalities between the countries.  And we aim to empower ourselves to face the disruptive impact of new globalization, driven by digitalization and innovation,” the President emphasized.

“Several modalities are available. Aside from bilateral and multilateral cooperation, tripartite arrangements can be made between the government, private sector, and multilateral financial institutions,” the Philippine leader said.

“There is no other way. Let us resolve to act decisively on universal vaccine access and maximize these mechanisms.”

 “We convey our deepest appreciation to the eminent experts who crafted the recommendations for our new Vision,” he added, noting the APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040 gives the economic bloc renewed confidence in its collective effort to build better, healthier, and more prosperous societies.

“There is no other way. Let us resolve to act decisively on universal vaccine access and maximize these mechanisms,” Duterte added.

Duerte welcomed Malaysia’s initiative to establish the COVID-Live online portal aimed at sharing best practices among member economies.

Through the APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040, APEC members reaffirm their support for a free and rules-based multilateral trading system, with the World Trade Organization (WTO) as its vanguard.

The APEC forum launched Putrajaya Vision 2040 Friday, promising cooperation to build an open, resilient, and peaceful Asia-Pacific region.

In a statement about Putrajaya Vision 2040, the economic grouping vowed to work together to achieve a free, open, fair, and non-discriminatory trade and investment environment.

The bloc also highlighted the need to pursue multilateralism to counter rising unilateralism and protectionism and has thrown its support to the WTO to deliver a well-functioning multilateral trading system.-Editha Z. Caduaya/Newsline.ph

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