COVID could delay regional meeting . . .
New Zealand’s opportunity to host a significant Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in 2021 could be delayed by at least a year. Last week, New Zealand’s Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker suggested that this year’s APEC host, Malaysia, wished to extend its hosting privileges due to the pandemic. While Malaysia has not officially announced its extension request, any decision would require the agreement of all APEC members – including New Zealand – as part of a “multi-layered and consensus-based” process. Founded in 1989, APEC is a regional forum of 21 Pacific Rim member economies that promotes free trade throughout the Asia Pacific.
Malaysia pushing for extension . . .
Since the onset of COVID-19, Malaysia has postponed and cancelled a series of pre-APEC summit meetings, impacting its ability to act as this year’s host economy. Last month, however, Malaysia successfully chaired the APEC Virtual Extraordinary Senior Officials’ Meeting, a four-hour meeting to address post-COVID economic recovery. Malaysia has officially indicated that the APEC leaders’ summit in November 2020 will go ahead, but the continuation of the pandemic may deter Kuala Lumpur’s plan. A deferral by Malaysia would cause a potential ripple effect on not only New Zealand but also Thailand and South Korea, scheduled to host in 2022 and 2023, respectively.
Canada’s role in APEC . . .
Over the past five years, Canada has taken on a more significant role in APEC, contributing C$4.74M through the APEC-Canada Growing Business Partnership. Implemented by both APF Canada and the APEC Secretariat, the project aims to increase global market access for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to help stimulate economic growth in the APEC region. Last month, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade Mary Ng announced the official appointment of Janet De Silva, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Toronto Region Board of Trade and a member of the Asia Business Leaders Advisory Council, as the Canadian representative to the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC).
- New Straits Times: Malaysia chairs 1st virtual APEC meeting on Covid-19 crisis
- Newsroom NZ: NZ’s APEC hosting rights face potential delay
- NZ Herald: APEC’s NZ summit could be delayed amid Covid-19 global pandemic