New Zealand hosts APEC trade ministers’ meeting with urgent focus on COVID-19 recovery

 New Zealand hosts APEC trade ministers’ meeting with urgent focus on COVID-19 recovery
The first ministerial session of New Zealand’s APEC hosting year gets underway this Saturday evening when Trade and Export Growth Minister Damien O’Connor chairs the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT) meeting. The meeting will focus on trade’s vital role in responding to COVID-19 and keeping the global trading system flowing smoothly. “The Asia-Pacific is confronted by the greatest health and economic crisis of our lifetimes, and unprecedented uncertainty as economies continue to struggle to bounce back from COVID-19. These are problems that demand APEC’s cooperative response,” Damien O’Connor said. “We know nobody is safe until everybody is safe from COVID-19, and we know that trade has a vital role to ensure our region prospers economically by keeping our markets open to one another rather than closing ourselves off. “Responsibility falls to New Zealand as this year’s host economy to lead an APEC 2021 agenda that responds to these challenges, as well as our responsibility for ensuring a sustainable recovery.” “I will be asking APEC Trade Ministers to accelerate access to vaccines and other goods essential in fighting the pandemic, by streamlining and speeding up related trade procedures.”

The Ministers Responsible for Trade meeting will focus on two key priorities: ·       Trade’s role in responding to COVID-19; and·       Supporting a World Trade Organisation that provides predictable trade rules for business. Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth, Phil Twyford, will be the New Zealand representative at the meeting. “Globally, there have been worrying trends restricting supply chains and disrupting flows of vaccines and essential goods around the world,” Phil Twyford said. “We will be asking how we can eliminate barriers to trade in these goods and services that are so essential to a sustainable recovery and discussing how to rejuvenate the World Trade Organisation to provide consistent and transparent trade rules.  “Furthermore, we want to send a message about our priorities and commitment to the WTO Ministerial meetings at the end of this year. We will also be asking what contribution trade policy can make to respond to environmental problems like climate change and over-fishing,” Phil Twyford said. A day before the meeting, APEC trade ministers will also discuss with business leaders the big trade challenges at this critical time. “The choices we make right now matter. I hope we can look back at this time and know that the APEC Trade Ministers took the opportunity to join, work and grow together, to provide vital support for our region’s recovery, and to lay the foundations for a better future for us all,” Damien O’Connor said. ENDS Media contact: Sean O’Brien 022-367-7326sean.o’   Notes to the editor The meeting will be held virtually on Saturday 5 June from 11pm to 2am Sunday 6 June (NZT). Pre-meeting press conference reminder: For journalists who have registered with APEC New Zealand, a virtual press conference will be held prior to the 5 June meeting at 10pm (NZT).  Motivations on the MRT three key priorities: ·        Efficient and equitable access to vaccines: Trade has a vital role to play in ensuring we can all access vaccines and vaccine-related gods as quickly as possible.·        APEC’s markets being as open as possible to one another in order to galvanise an economic recovery: As New Zealanders, we know that trade brings economies, and people, together and that this is key to our recovery.·        A sustainable economic recovery: APEC economies know we need to see how trade can help us confront climate change and manage our fisheries better. Detail on the APEC ministers’ meeting APEC Business Advisory Council: ·        APEC ministers will also join the region’s business leaders from the APEC Business Advisory Council to discuss policy recommendations from the private sector on 4 June.·        The APEC Business Advisory Council comprises private sector representatives from each APEC economy. Throughout the year they engage with officials on engagement between the private sector and government. Background about the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting: The Ministers Responsible for Trade meeting includes Ministers from 21 APEC member economies. The first meeting was held in October 1994 in Jakarta, Indonesia as a follow-up to the decision of the APEC Ministerial Meeting in Seattle, United States, 1993. The meeting has been held annually since 1996, to strengthen the multilateral trading system and the trade and investment liberalisation and facilitation process of APEC.  In recent years, ministers have discussed issues on anti-corruption, human security, public-private partnership, and economic and technical cooperation.        

Sean O’Brien Press Secretary

Office of the Hon Damien O’Connor

Minister of Agriculture

Minister for Trade and Export Growth

Minister of Land Information

Minister for Rural Communities

Minister for Biosecurity

Office: +64 4 817 9076 | Mobile: +64 22 367 7326

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