What Malaysia Is Working On As Host Of APEC 2020

[This is a paid article with MITI.]

If you are in the commercial economy, you might have heard of the term APEC, but the average person might not know what it is for, who the people are involved with, what decisions are made in this forum, and how these can affect our livelihoods.

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is a regional forum that was established in 1989.

Who is part of APEC?

The 31st Forum in 2020 is again hosted by Malaysia, as we are one of the 21 member economies which include Russia, China, Vietnam, Singapore, Canada, United States and Chile. Malaysia is also one of the 12 founding members of APEC.

Note: Word ‘savingsIs used to describe APEC members, as APEC is primarily concerned with trade and economic issues, with members engaging each other as economic entities. APEC economies also account for 60% of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP).

What is the purpose of APEC?

APEC’s goal is to create greater prosperity for people through balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure growth through economic acceleration, with a focus on the Asia-Pacific region.

An example of what APEC has done so far for participating economies can be seen through the “Bogor Goals” initiative, which started in 1994. Bogor’s goal was to reduce trade barriers and promote the free movement of goods and services among the 21 APEC Economies.

For this reason, tariffs are cheaper and many sectors in Malaysia are open to foreign investment. And it also means that Malaysian citizens are currently benefiting from the fruits of actions taken after the previous APEC forums.

What is APEC’s program for this year?

For APEC 2020, Malaysia is hosting it with a program focused on ‘Optimizing human potential for a resilient future of shared prosperityPivot, prioritize and progress.

The goal of shared prosperity is to build a nation with an inclusive economy so that no one is left behind, which is a huge achievement in itself. To move Malaysia forward on the agenda, they focus on three important priorities.

1. Improving the stories about trade and investment

Other APEC economies play an important role in Malaysia as they account for over 80% of our country’s trade and they also account for 70% of foreign investment in Malaysian manufacturing sector.

The Bogor goals reach maturity in 2020. Since they were put on the table in 1994, we have seen the number of poor people in the region reduce by half a billion.

Moving forward, member economies must now determine what their next steps are to continue what the Bogor goals started and define a new post-2020 vision.

As a practical example, since 2016, tariffs on 115 tariff lines have been reduced or eliminated.

Over the next few years, we should consider what other tariffs can be reduced in order to make our country’s exports more competitive abroad.

Dato ‘Sri Mohamed Azmin Ali, Minister of International Trade and Industry of Malaysia at Minister Responsible for Trade (VMRT) Virtual Meeting during APEC 2020 / Image Credit: APEC

While GDP plays an important role in indicating a country’s growth, Malaysia wants to go beyond just using GDP to showcase a country’s growth.

Take, for example, the impact of the digital economy. Because it easily transcends borders and takes place in a non-physical space, most of it is not measurable by GDP.

While we recognize that economies may need to implement emergency measures designed to meet the challenges of COVID-19, we reiterate our commitment to work to facilitate the flow of essential goods and services, improve connectivity by strengthening resilient supply chains and minimize disruption to trade in medical products. goods, food and agricultural products, in order to fight the pandemic.

Statement by ministers responsible for trade at APEC 2020

2. Inclusive participation through the digital economy and technology

Technology has undoubtedly improved the lives of many Malaysians. But without proper application of technology in the economy, it could widen the socio-economic divide in a nation.

We know that many startups in Malaysia have massive plans to increase their income through technology. But your mak cik Kiah on the road, which does not even understand the concept of electronic wallets, would miss it.

This is part of the reason why Malaysia not long ago launched the e-Tunai Rakyat initiative to present citizens of all ages with a digital solution.

At the SME meeting, Dato ‘Sri Dr Haji Wan Junaidi, Malaysian Minister of Entrepreneur and Cooperative Development, pleaded with APEC economies to collaborate.

Going digital is not an option, it has to be done. It is a necessity to survive.

Dato ‘Sri Dr Haji Wan Junaidi explains how SMEs can continue to operate despite a pandemic

As for how APEC economies can support this notion, they stressed that policymakers should introduce lower data costs, promote regional cooperation and even help businesses overcome the digital divide and integration. .

With Malaysia’s focus on digital technology, the benefits we derive from technology investments must help everyone, not just a fraction of society.

Speaking of impacts on all parts of society, it was revealed during the APEC Women and Economy Forum (WEF) that the pandemic has actually worsened pre-existing economic and social inequalities for women.

And women in fact constitute the majority of workers and entrepreneurs in SMEs.

Take-out meals? Policymakers in every APEC economy must adopt gender-sensitive approaches and implement policies that aim at women’s economic empowerment.

Essentially, it is about providing equal access to resources and opportunities to women and girls in this economy.

3. Promote innovative sustainability

Over the past year or so, we have seen an increase in the number of consumers who are more interested in where their products come from and how they are made.

Of #taknakstraw movement towards greater awareness of the environmental damage of fashion fast, consumers are ready to support businesses that focus on sustainability. Big brands are also joining this movement.

Hairil Yahri Yaacob, Deputy Secretary General of MITI / Image Credit: APEC

One of the key points of the APEC 2020 discussions is to foster innovations in renewable energy, waste management and even recycling strategies, which are defined as circular economy.

Hairil Yahri Yaacob, Deputy Secretary General of MITI said: “In the past, APEC has avoided these problems, openly saying that they are not economic problems. What we need to realize is that there are opportunities directly related to sustainability. “

While the fruits of this year’s APEC are not immediately visible, just like the Bogor goals, they have already had an impact on the livelihoods of the citizens of this region.

  • To learn more about APEC2020 and its benefits for Malaysians, click here.

Featured Image Credit: APEC

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Jothi Venkat

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