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Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin delivering his speech at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Informal Leaders’ Retreat chaired by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, in Kuala Lumpur, July 16, 2021. — Bernama pic
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin delivering his speech at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Informal Leaders’ Retreat chaired by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, in Kuala Lumpur, July 16, 2021. — Bernama pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, July 17 ― The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Informal Leaders’ Retreat stand united to accelerate equitable access to safe, effective, quality-assured and affordable Covid-19 vaccines to expedite economic recovery.

The Ministry of International Trade And Industry (Miti) said the pledge was made at the Apec Leaders’ Informal Retreat held virtually yesterday where the Malaysian delegation was led by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

“Apec Leaders also commit to redouble efforts to expand vaccine manufacture and supply, support global vaccine sharing efforts and encourage the voluntary transfer of vaccine production technologies,” it said in a statement today.

The retreat was chaired by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and was attended by all 21 Apec Economies, including the newly elected United States President Joe Biden, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

The ministry said in manifesting the solidarity in battling the Covid-19 health and economic crisis, the leaders issued the “Apec Economic Leaders’ Statement: Overcoming Covid-19 and Accelerating Economic Recovery”.

“Reiterating their commitment in realising the Putrajaya Vision of an open, dynamic, resilient and peaceful Asia-Pacific community by 2040, the statement focused on three main areas namely strong, balanced, secure, sustainable and inclusive growth; innovation and digitalisation; and trade and investment, which are also the key drivers of the vision,” it said.

Miti said in his intervention, Muhyiddin regarded the Informal Retreat as an “important occasion to reflect on any missed collaborative opportunities that could reinforce the efforts towards rapid, sustainable and even economic recovery.”

It said the prime minister also remarked that “while it is comforting to witness the return to normalcy in some economies, many of us are still grappling to regain economic stability,” referring to developing and non-vaccine-producing economies in Apec.

The ministry said Muhyiddin also emphasised the positive correlation between the success of the vaccination programme or increased rate of inoculation and the ability to speed up the economic recovery process.

“Malaysia supports global initiatives undertaken to boost global vaccines capacities, including through negotiation at the WTO on the temporary waiver of certain provisions of the TRIPS Agreement. This is a step in the right direction because extraordinary circumstances call for extraordinary measures,” the ministry said, quoting the prime minister.

It said Muhyiddin also took the opportunity to congratulate Suga and Japan for organising the Olympic Games 2020 which would convene next week.

Miti said the prime minister described the event as “a testament on how cross-border travels can be carried out, under stringent measures and controlled environment.”

Since the issuance of the Statement on Covid-19 by Apec Ministers Responsible for Trade during Malaysia’s hosting year in 2020, Apec has introduced numerous policies formulated to address the challenges arising from the health and economic crisis, which is expected to last for the foreseeable future.

Leaders will virtually meet again in November to conclude the efforts and achievements of Apec 2021. ― Bernama

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