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Prime Minister To Chair APEC Leaders Meeting

Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern

Prime Minister
MP for Mt Albert

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has today marked the beginning of the fully virtual APEC 2021 Leaders Week, where political, business and young leaders come together for a series of events that conclude New Zealand’s host year.

The Prime Minister will conclude the week by chairing the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting where the 21 Leaders will gather virtually to discuss the ongoing management of COVID-19 and further regional trade and economic cooperation between member economies.

“Having convened APEC Leaders for an additional COVID-19 summit in July, this meeting will focus on charting a path to recovery out of this once-in-a-century crisis,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“APEC’s focus remains on the regional response and recovery from COVID-19. Together we are continuing to keep supply chains functioning and are supporting trade in critical medical supplies – including testing kits, PPE and now vaccines.

“Through APEC Leaders we will build on the progress so far by energising the region’s economic recovery, taking action to decarbonise our economies, and promoting growth that leaves no one behind,” Jacinda Ardern said.

Through New Zealand’s hosting year, APEC economies have:

o agreed to help speed up the flow of vaccines and related goods across borders and reduced their costs;

o agreed a five year programme of work on economic reforms that will kick start growth, create new jobs and help combat climate change;

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o laid the groundwork for a voluntary standstill on fossil fuel subsides – hundreds of billions of dollars are spent every year on subsidising fuels that harm our environment;

o agreed to lock in digital and paperless customs procedures, saving business significant time and cost by removing requirements for physical paperwork; and

o set a new roadmap to guide efforts to boost food security over the next ten years.

“If there is one thing that we can be certain of right now, it is that no economy can overcome this pandemic alone, it will require all of our continued cooperation to secure a successful regional recovery for all,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“We are not just focused on the here and now – but also focused on providing strong direction to APEC’s work through to 2040 as we strive to reignite growth and respond to the challenges of the pandemic,” Jacinda Ardern said.

The APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting will conclude a busy five days during which New Zealand political, business and young leaders welcome Asia-Pacific counterparts for a series of events that conclude New Zealand’s APEC’s host year. These are:

- The Ministers of Foreign Affairs, and Trade & Export Growth will host regional counterparts at the APEC Ministerial Meeting on 9 and 10 November.

- Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will open the APEC CEO Summit on 11 and 12 November which brings together Presidents, Prime Ministers, Chief Executives, entrepreneurs and thought-leaders to exchange perspectives on the big issues facing the Asia-Pacific.

- Young people will meet at the Voices of the Future Conference on 9 and 10 November, where Prime Minister Ardern will deliver a keynote speech.

- Leaders will have their annual dialogue with the APEC Business Advisory Council on 12 November. Co-chaired by Prime Minister Ardern and Rachel Taulelei, the 2021 Chair of the APEC Business Advisory Council.

- Chaired by Prime Minister Ardern, the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting will be held overnight on 12-13 November.

Between the Prime Minister and APEC Ministers, bilateral meetings have been held with all APEC economies across the 2021 host year – highlighting how chairing APEC has opened doors for New Zealand.

Note for editors:

The programme and background information on specific events are contained in the APEC 2021 Leaders’ Week Media Guide, available on the
APEC 2021 website.

APEC is home to 2.9 billion people, represents 60 per cent of world GDP and 48 per cent of world trade (according to 2018 figures).

APEC economies are vitally important to New Zealand’s prosperity, accounting for 75% of our exports.

New Zealand’s three policy priorities for APEC 2021 are shaped by the COVID-19 crisis and focused on bringing the region together to promote an inclusive, sustainable and resilient recovery.

· Economic and trade policies to strengthen recovery

This priority focuses on APEC’s economic response to COVID-19. It aims to encourage trade and economic policies that support openness and connectivity, and reduce friction at the border in order to to reduce barriers and make it easier for companies to trade and do business throughout the APEC region.

· Increasing inclusion and sustainability for recovery

This priority acknowledges the need for APEC’s long-term response to COVID-19 to be sustainable and inclusive of all people. It is about enhancing the participation of groups such as women and indigenous people in the economy, and ensuring their contributions are valued. It will also ensure the region’s recovery can be used to improve sustainability outcomes, including in the area of climate change.

· Pursuing innovation, and a digitally enabled recovery

The priority focuses on APEC taking advantage of innovation in the digital space to improve the way business is done and make it more efficient and adaptable. It aims to encourage APEC members to embrace open and competitive markets for new technologies.

There have been over 50 million cases of COVID-19 within APEC’s borders, with over one million deaths. The region has registered more than 100,000 new cases every day since November 2020 and, during this time, more than 22 million people have been pushed into extreme poverty.

APEC-wide GDP contracted by 1.9 percent in 2020, the biggest fall since World War Two. While economic growth is recovering, around 81 million jobs have been lost due to the pandemic.

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