New Zealand Prime Minister to chair extraordinary APEC meeting on coronavirus

Moscow, Jul 12 (Agency) New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will chair the so-called Informal Leaders’ Retreat of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on economy, and the common response to the crisis, on July 16, the organization said on Monday. The meetings between APEC participating countries are usually held once a year.

“This is the first time in APEC’s history that leaders have [agreed to] held an extraordinary meeting at leaders’ level, and it reflects our desire to navigate together out of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis,” Ardern was quoted as saying by a statement. She noted that a total of 81 million work places were lost in the participating countries over 2020, marking a record contraction since World War II and emphasizing the importance of speeding up recovery in the region. The prime minister also said that, while certain efforts have already been made to contain the virus, including the distribution of vaccines and related goods, additional measures will be discussed at the meeting.

“Containing COVID-19 through rapid, safe, and effective vaccination; micro- and macroeconomic policy settings to sustain businesses and workers; and building more resilient, inclusive and sustainable economies will all be on the agenda,” Ardern explained, adding that “nobody is safe until everyone is safe.” The platform, founded in 1989, unites 21 economies in the Asia-Pacific region, including Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam.