5 Jun 2021 – At the virtual 27th APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT) Meeting held last night, Senior Minister and Minister of International Trade and Industry (MITI), Dato’ Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali highlighted that APEC Economies cannot fight the pandemic alone. He emphasised the need and the urgency for APEC to optimise all policy tools and act collectively in ensuring trade continues to flow unimpeded during these trying times.
According to MITI, Azmin also stressed the importance for APEC to guard against vaccine nationalism and stockpiling of vaccines.
“On the contrary, APEC should do its utmost to facilitate affordable and equitable access to vaccines. Recognising the importance of innovation and digitalisation, Dato’ Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali urged officials to expedite the adoption of digitalisation, taking into account the pressing challenges faced by APEC during this pandemic.
In this regard, he strongly encouraged APEC Economies to share relevant data and information relating to COVID-19 through the APEC COVID-19 Latest and Immediate Virtual Exchange (APEC COVID-19 LIVE), a digital information-sharing platform launched last year.” said MITI in a statement issued today.
On Malaysia’s priorities towards achieving WTO MC12’s concrete outcomes, Azmin remarked “it is imperative that we restore the full-functioning of the Appellate Body to safeguard the predictability and stability of the multilateral trading system.” Azmin also underscored the importance of concluding the negotiations on fisheries subsidies which would send a strong signal that the WTO can deliver a multilateral outcome.
“Nonetheless, Special and Differential Treatment should remain an integral part in the negotiations. In the case of Malaysia, subsidies are meant for targeted groups with the prime objective to improve the livelihoods of thousands of low-income fishermen, who depend on small-scale fishing for their living,” he added.
Azmin also reiterated the strong call by APEC Leaders last year to treat COVID-19 vaccines as a global public good, and as such, Malaysia looks forward to the commencement of the text-based negotiations on the temporary waiver of certain provisions in the WTO Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement, as these will enhance the affordability of, and accessibility to COVID-19 vaccines.