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KUALA LUMPUR: The APEC Committee on Trade and Investment (CTI) chair calls on member economies to step up cooperation in a bid to support the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the upcoming 12th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC12), to be held from Nov 30-Dec 3 this year.

The call comes ahead of the committee’s third meeting of the year from Aug 24-26, 2021, where trade and investment officials will meet as part of the current APEC meeting cluster.

APEC CTI chair Krasna Bobenrieth called on the committee’s members to support the renewal of the current practice of not imposing customs duties on electronic transmissions until the 13th WTO Ministerial Conference, and for economies that are in position to make permanent the moratorium, to do so.

The officials will report to APEC Senior Officials on initiatives focusing on four key areas including support for the multilateral trading system, deepening regional economic integration, strengthening trade facilitation and connectivity, as well as inclusion.

Bobenrieth also appealed for members’ support for the rule-making function of the WTO by participating in several ongoing WTO Joint Statement Initiatives on micro, small and medium-sized enterprises; e-commerce; services domestic regulation; and investment facilitation for development.

“Women’s economic empowerment is an important issue in APEC, and I call for members to join the WTO Joint Declaration on Trade and Women’s Economic Empowerment,” she added.

In 2019, APEC Ministers endorsed the La Serena Roadmap for Women and Inclusive Growth to encourage initiatives across all of APEC’s work streams to advance gender equality and women’s economic empowerment.

“Our ability to support, participate and implement WTO agreements and initiatives directly affects our capacity to meet APEC’s goal of free, open, fair, non-discriminatory, transparent and predictable trade and investment environment,” she said. – Bernama

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