APEC leaders vow to fight pandemic

A monitor shows US President Donald Trump next to Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha at the start of the online Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders’ summit on Friday

APEC is a crucial framework promoting the liberalisation of trade and investment and the strengthening of connectivity, in accordance with global rules, within the Asia-Pacific region, Suga said in his speech themed "Re-starting Asia Pacific Growth".

Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide has addressed an online summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, saying that Japan intends to play a key role to promote the prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region in cooperation with APEC, NHK World-Japan reported on Friday.

"The health risks and its impact on the global economic ecosystem has been the major priority agenda for all APEC economies this year", he said.

Xi also called for stronger policy coordination among worldwide communities and said globalisation is "irreversible" and that China will not engage in "de-coupling".

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Thursday that USA trade policies under Trump had caused "very slow" progress in APEC in recent years, adding that he expected "more multilateralists" in the Biden administration.

The FTAAP proposal was initiated in 2004 and written into the declaration of the APEC meeting in 2006.

"In seven years since the 2008 global financial crisis, the contribution of China's domestic demand to GDP exceeded 100 per cent, making domestic consumption the main driver of its growth", he said.

Mr Xi's comments come off the back of signing the world's largest regional free-trade agreement over the weekend, encompassing nearly a third of the world's economic output.

Asia-Pacific nations including China, Japan and South Korea signed the world's largest regional free-trade agreement over the weekend, encompassing nearly a third of the world's economic output.

Both the CPTPP and RCEP are seen as building blocks of a larger Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific that Apec has set as a goal.

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A spokesman for the Chinese commerce ministry said on Thursday his country was open to the idea of joining the CPTPP, while Britain earlier this year announced its intent to pursue accession to the pact.

"We recognise the importance of a free, open, fair, non-discriminatory, transparent and predictable trade and investment environment to drive economic recovery at such a challenging time", according to the joint statement.

A 5G-based remote-control robot on display during the 2019 World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai, eastern China, August 29, 2019.

"We will also discuss enabling trade and open markets through a multilateral trading system, to strengthen supply chains, that will also help Australia's economic recovery". He urged them make the region a "pacesetter for innovation" and to "actively fulfill" their social responsibilities.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping will also participate in the meeting, as will leaders from 19 other Asia-Pacific nations.

"Fourth, we need to promote mutually beneficial cooperation", he said, stressing that economies in the region are highly complementary to each other. "Rather, our cooperation has provided us with a development platform to ensure what we each do can be mutually reinforcing and beneficial to all".

"As people's behavioural patterns shift due to COVID-19, accelerating digital transformation is crucial", he said.

APEC gatherings have in recent years been overshadowed by escalating trade tensions between the U.S. and China, and leaders were unable to agree on a formal written declaration for the first at their most recent summit in 2018.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who will be next year's APEC host, voiced hope that APEC leaders will join hands to bolster the regional economy.

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