Ardern to chair July 16 meeting

New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, will chair a virtual meeting of APEC Leaders on July 16 focused on the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic effects.

The 40-year-old PM said this is the first time in APEC’s history that leaders have held an additional meeting at Leaders’ level, and it reflects their desire to navigate together out of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis.

“APEC economies have suffered their biggest contraction since the Second World War over the past year, with 81 million jobs lost. Responding collectively is vital to accelerate the economic recovery for the region,” she stated.

“Our region has already responded in significant ways, including removing barriers to the efficient distribution of vaccines and related goods, but there is still a lot of work to do to get through the crisis.

“Leaders will share information so we can continue to build on our collective understanding of the region’s health response to COVID-19, and shape a collaborative economic response.

“Containing COVID-19 through rapid, safe and effective vaccination; micro- and macro-economic policy settings to sustain businesses and workers; and building more resilient, inclusive and sustainable economies will all be on the agenda.

“I will be inviting discussion on immediate measures to achieve more coordinated regional action to assist recovery, as well as steps that will support inclusive and sustainable growth over the long term.

“APEC Leaders will work together to get through the pandemic and promote a sustainable and inclusive recovery, because nobody is safe until everyone is safe,” Ardern concluded.

Leading a regional response to the pandemic is one of New Zealand’s highest priorities as APEC Chair. It has been the focus of recent meetings of Finance, Structural Reform and Trade Ministers, with all economies focused on international cooperation in responding to COVID-19 and laying the foundations for recovery.

(CNN picture)