The COVID-19 pandemic is a test of APEC’s relevance as an economic cooperation platform that has benefitted the people of APEC over the past decades.
His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam said this in a titah during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders for the 27th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting (AELM) Leaders’ Retreat via video conference from Baitul Mesyuarah, Istana Nurul Iman yesterday.
The monarch said Brunei Darussalam, as an APEC member and ASEAN Chair in 2021, looks forward to working closely with all economies in continuing the regional economic revitalisation agenda, and urged APEC to leverage upon its collaboration with other international organisations.
His Majesty also stated that Brunei Darussalam welcomes the APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040, which provides renewed impetus to fulfil a new mission in a post-COVID-19 era.
His Majesty went on to highlight several points, first of which is that APEC needs to restore market confidence to promote early recovery and revitalise trade and investment. APEC needs to advocate a pro-business climate by pursuing structural reforms, strengthening trade facilitation and economic integration as well as progressing work on the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP).
Secondly, the empowerment of APEC’s people, especially youth and women, as well as businesses, particularly micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), has to be prioritised to ensure that no one is left behind. This includes promoting equitable access to economic opportunities and resources to enable them to benefit from new technologies and growth prospects.