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New Zealand To Steer APEC’s Work Towards Recovery

In times of unprecedented health and economic crises, New Zealand, one of the twelve founding members of APEC, assumes the role of host in 2021, taking the leadership from Malaysia, the host of APEC 2020. The host year will be held fully virtual, as announced in June this year, demonstrating New Zealand’s leadership in digital diplomacy amidst the global pandemic.

“As we plan for recovery from COVID-19, it is economic cooperation through APEC, the most dynamic region in the world’s economy that will help us all rebuild,” said New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, in a video introducing the New Zealand’s APEC year presented at the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting last Friday.

WATCH: Join, Work, Grow. Together | Haumi ē, Hui ē, Tāiki ē.

Prime Minister Ardern, who will be the chair of the 2021 APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting acknowledged the extraordinary scale of the challenges the world faces today, and stressed the need for member economies to work together for the greater good.

She explained that New Zealand will create an environment where connections can be made and APEC’s important work can continue, including progress on sustainability, ensuring widespread adoption of digital tools to drive productivity and developing inclusive plans to create opportunities for all the people.

“The way we respond as a region to today’s challenges will be felt for generations to come,” added Prime Minister Ardern. “APEC 2021 New Zealand will be the start of reigniting growth, continuing trade and setting a plan for long-lasting recovery across the entire region.”

Speaking at a virtual briefing on Monday, Vangelis Vitalis, 2021 Chair of APEC Senior Officials and Deputy Secretary of Trade and Economic, New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade emphasized the importance of more cooperation in times of crisis, noting that trade is “an absolute vital part” to the journey of recovery.

“We are hoping to take a closer look at the trade and economic policies that we need to drive recovery and to take us forward,” he explained. “We would also like to propel more discussion on not only how we can build back better, but to build back greener and more inclusively, so that the recovery will be much more resilient and sustainable.”

Vitalis, who will be leading the technical discussions next year, also highlighted the importance of the digital and innovation aspect in driving recovery, improving productivity and efficiency and keeping the engagement and connectivity alive during periodsof border closings and lockdowns.

WATCH: Virtual Briefing: Towards a Resilient and Inclusive APEC Region

“We look forward to a successful virtual APEC year as New Zealand continues the successful work laid by Malaysia this year, including to develop a work program for the implementation of the APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040,” said Executive Director of the APEC Secretariat, Dr Rebecca Sta Maria. “We stand ready to fully support New Zealand in its vision to pave the way for a more resilient, inclusive and sustainable APEC region.”

New Zealand will begin its host year with a symposium and the Informal Senior Officials Meeting in December 2020, followed by the first formal gatherings of senior officials early next year.

For more information on APEC 2021 New Zealand, visit

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