Ministers release joint statement . . .
The trade ministers of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) reached a consensus over the weekend on the importance of facilitating the movement of essential goods during the COVID-19 pandemic. Chaired by Malaysia, 21 APEC ministers gathered online for the first-ever virtual Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT) meeting. In their joint statement, the ministers noted the importance of delivering a “free, fair, non-discriminatory, transparent, predictable and stable trade and investment environment.” The statement highlights the need for a co-ordinated approach that ensures that the flow of essential goods continues, supply chains are further strengthened, and trade lines remain open. During the MRT meeting, Canada also announced its intention to move forward with Phase II of the APEC-Canada Growing Business Partnership, which focuses on sustainable inclusive growth and poverty reduction.
Canadian minister signals deepening cooperation . . .
Malaysia also hosted the Virtual Extraordinary Senior Officials’ Meeting as part of the engagements among APEC sub-committees that are exploring solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic. Canada has taken an active role in the discussions. Before the MRT meeting, Mary Ng, Canada’s Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, spoke to her Malaysian counterpart on not only deepening the economic relationship between both countries, but also with other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Canada to expand small-business support in Asia Pacific . . .
At the MRT meeting, Minister Ng also announced Canada’s intention to move forward with Phase II of the APEC-Canada Growing Business Partnership. The Partnership, which began in 2016, is jointly implemented by APF Canada and the APEC Secretariat. The first phase of the initiative helped build the potential of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) by offering best-practice tools, ideas, knowledge, and critical connections for inclusive growth derived from the Canadian experience. Phase I economies of focus are Indonesia, Peru, the Philippines, and Vietnam. Phase II will focus on small businesses in another set of economies (yet to be announced) by reducing barriers to trade, giving back to their communities, and building economies that work for everyone – including women.