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Malaysia leads the fully virtual APEC senior officials’ meeting


Malaysia successfully chaired the APEC Virtual Extraordinary Senior Officials’ Meeting (VESOM) on COVID-19 on Wednesday, May 27, which deliberated on five proposals.

APEC 2020 National Secretariat, in a statement today said, the VESOM brought together 21 APEC Economies from eight different time zones, into a single virtual platform and saw the participation of all APEC Economies, the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) as well as selected observers from international and regional organisations.

“Out of these proposals, three originated from Malaysia. The first one was on the creation of a platform for guided information exchange, called the APEC COVID-19 Latest and Immediate Virtual Exchange, or more succinctly, the APEC COVID-19 LIVE.

“This platform aims to capture the policy interventions, measures, programmes and initiatives adopted by APEC Economies to address the COVID-19 crisis.

“Secondly, Malaysia proposed a draft APEC Declaration on Facilitating the Movement of Essential Goods. This draft Declaration proposes for all APEC Economies to offer a self-determined list of goods for unilateral tariff concessions,” said the Secretariat.

The Secretariat also added that the third proposal, in Malaysia’s capacity as the Chair of APEC 2020, offered guidance regarding the way forward for the work being undertaken across the APEC bodies.

“The Committees, Working Groups and other sub-fora were reminded that their work must continue, either through virtual, or inter-sessional, means. In resuming and continuing their work, these APEC bodies must appreciate that the region is now in a post-crisis recovery mode, and this element must be infused into, and reflected in, their deliberations.

“In addition to the proposals from Malaysia, there were also two more proposals from other APEC Economies.

“The People’s Republic of China presented a proposal to establish a sub-fund for regional cooperation aimed at combatting COVID-19 and facilitating economic recovery. Singapore and New Zealand jointly proposed an initiative to facilitate the trade of medical goods within APEC,” said the Secretariat adding that all five proposals garnered constructive comments from the Economies and further discussions on these proposals are expected to be undertaken at the relevant APEC bodies.

This is the second time Malaysia is serving as the Chair of APEC. Malaysia first hosted APEC in 1998.

The APEC 2020 National Secretariat was established since February 2018 in the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) to carry out the planning and implementation of APEC 2020.

For more details on APEC 2020 log on to

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