July 25, 2020
On July 25 (Sat.), 2020, an APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting was held via video conference, and Mr. Kajiyama Hiroshi, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, attended the meeting. The ministers in attendance held discussions on APEC’s efforts for addressing the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and future approaches to economic recovery, adopted a statement and issued a Declaration on Facilitating the Movement of Essential Goods.
The meeting was held via video conference in response to a call by Malaysia, the 2020 APEC chair, in light of the recent expansion of COVID-19, and Minister Kajiyama and Mr. Wakamiya Kenji, State Minister for Foreign Affairs, attended the meeting as representatives of Japan.
At the meeting, the ministers held discussions on APEC’s efforts for addressing COVID-19 and future approaches to economic recovery and adopted a statement. The statement is a compilation of specific efforts which APEC has been implementing in response to the Statement on COVID-19 by APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade issued on May 5, 2020. Along with this, they also issued a Declaration on Facilitating the Movement of Essential Goods this time in response to the goal “facilitate the flow of essential goods” set in the statement in May 2020.
Highlights of the statement adopted this time are as follows.
- The ministers acknowledge the importance of a free, fair, non-discriminatory, transparent and predictable trade and investment environment to drive economic recovery.
- They stress the importance of transparent and non-discriminatory rules agreed in the WTO, which enhance market predictability and enable business confidence, as well as allowing trade to flow, and recognizing the WTO’s role in this regard, they agree that action is necessary to improve its functioning and support the necessary reform of the WTO.
- They are committed to ensuring that measures designed to tackle COVID-19 are targeted, proportionate, transparent, temporary, do not create unnecessary barriers to trade or disruption to global supply chains, and are consistent with WTO rules.
- They are pleased with the Declaration on Facilitating the Movement of Essential Goods. They also recognize the need for discussions to reduce non-tariff barriers which restrict trade in essential goods and they reaffirm their commitment to share and explore ways to facilitate essential movement of people across borders. They are encouraged by the Proposal to Review Measures Facilitating Essential Movement of People across Borders.
- They urge senior officials to prioritize the work in this area with a view to establish a digital platform for information exchange and they look forward to early realization of this platform.
- They recognize the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC)’s call for APEC to continue supporting the multilateral trading system, and they encourage continued constructive engagement on WTO issues, including in the lead-up to the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference.
- They encourage economies to adopt digital solutions that will strengthen supply chain resilience as well as enable seamless cross-border business, including through e-commerce. In harnessing the opportunities of digital economy, they acknowledge the importance of cooperation on facilitating the flow of data and strengthening consumer and business trust in digital transactions.
- Virtual MRT Statement by APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade(PDF:66KB)
- Declaration on Facilitating the Movement of Essential Goods (PDF:42KB)
Division in Charge
APEC Office, Trade Policy Bureau