Harness APEC’s Strength to Overcome Challenges: Dr Mahathir
Langkawi, Malaysia, 09 December 2019
Malaysia, incoming host of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, will rally the forum to ensure that the ‘”benefits from trade, investment, and economic cooperation are felt and enjoyed by our people,” said Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad as he launched APEC Malaysia 2020.
APEC Malaysia’s host year begins today with representatives of the 21 member economies weighing the policy priorities set by the Southeast Asian economy in a symposium taking place in Langkawi.
Dr Mahathir, who first hosted APEC in 1998, urges member economies to “be united and harness our collective strength to overcome issues and challenges, realign our faith and charge forward.”
In 2020, Malaysia will host APEC amid a moderating economic outlook both regionally and globally. Since the forum’s establishment in 1989, trade drove the expansion of the region’s economy, which nearly tripled in size in three decades and now accounts for 60 percent of global GDP.
With the role of merchandise trade in economic growth now tempering, APEC seeks to foster additional means of broadening prosperity, such as the digital economy and the services sector, in order to achieve more inclusive growth.
“APEC initiatives must now move past liberalisation initiatives to be more inclusive and involve all segments of the population,” said Dr. Mahathir, who will be the only leader to host APEC twice.
APEC is integral to Malaysia’s economy. APEC member economies account for more than 80 percent of Malaysia’s total trade and more than 70 percent of its foreign direct investment in the manufacturing sector. Some 40 percent of jobs are tied to export-related activity.
The symposium, opened by Hairil Yahri Yaacob, Deputy Secretary-General of Malaysia’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry, focused on developments in regional trade, investment, the tech sector, and the circular economy. Yaacob will serve as the Chair for APEC Senior Officials in 2020.
The symposium precedes the APEC Informal Senior Officials’ Meeting,on 10-11 December. At this meeting, senior officials from across the region will elaborate on the policy agenda in 2020 while also continuing to finalize the post-2020 vision for APEC.
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