APEC trade ministers pledge to tackle shared challenges and build a sustainable future

Picture source: Katherine Tai/Twitter

27th May 2023 – (Detroit) The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) trade ministers ended their two-day meeting on Friday with a vow to overcome shared challenges. These challenges include the environment, food security, supply chain disruptions, and the impacts of the global pandemic. The meeting, which echoed the APEC 2023 theme of “Creating a Resilient and Sustainable Future for All,” discussed the critical role APEC plays in advancing sustainable and inclusive trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region.

According to a statement from U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, the chair of the meeting, the trade ministers reaffirmed their leaders’ commitment to the Bangkok Goals on Bio-Circular-Green Economy and the achievement of the APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040. The statement also highlighted the importance of collective support for the multilateral trading system and the necessary reforms to improve all functions of the World Trade Organisation.

Furthermore, the trade ministers encouraged the promotion of trade and investment in products that lead to positive environmental outcomes. To this end, they instructed senior officials to start developing a new, voluntary, non-binding reference list of environmental goods. This list will help facilitate trade in environmentally friendly products and technologies and promote sustainable development in the region.

The APEC region is home to some of the world’s most dynamic and fastest-growing economies, accounting for more than half of global GDP and trade. However, the region also faces significant challenges, including environmental degradation, economic inequality, and geopolitical tensions. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated these challenges, highlighting the importance of regional cooperation and collaboration.

The APEC trade ministers’ meeting comes at a critical time, as countries around the world are grappling with the economic fallout from the pandemic and seeking ways to build back better. The meeting recognized the need for a more interconnected, innovative, and inclusive APEC region that can drive sustainable and inclusive growth in the post-pandemic world.

One of the key challenges facing the region is the need to transition to a more sustainable and green economy. The APEC region is home to some of the world’s largest and fastest-growing economies, which also means it is responsible for a significant share of global greenhouse gas emissions. The trade ministers’ meeting recognized the urgent need to address this issue and pledged to promote trade and investment in products that lead to positive environmental outcomes.

In addition to environmental challenges, the APEC region also faces significant supply chain disruptions, which have been exacerbated by the pandemic. The meeting recognized the need for greater cooperation and collaboration to address these disruptions and ensure the smooth flow of goods and services within the region.

The APEC trade ministers’ meeting also recognised the need to address food security issues in the region. The pandemic has highlighted the vulnerability of global food supply chains, and APEC countries are particularly vulnerable due to their reliance on food imports. The meeting pledged to promote greater food security in the region and to address issues such as food waste and loss.