KUALA LUMPUR: The hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Leaders’ Summit by Malaysia in 2020 will keep the country on track as a significant trading nation; and further advance the international performance of Malaysian businesses, said the International Trade and Industry Ministry (Miti).
Miti secretary-general Datuk Lokman Hakim Ali said since becoming a founding member of Apec, Malaysia has been heavily influenced by the bloc’s structural and regulatory reforms, as well as its policy and decision making.
“Although Malaysia is a member of other economic summits, forums and establishments like the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and free trade agreements, it was Apec that played one of the most influential roles for Malaysia, where it started liberalising and having open free trade and investment,” he told Bernama.
Apec, comprising 21 economies including Malaysia, is a regional economic forum established in 1989 to leverage the growing interdependence of the Asia-Pacific; and aims to create greater prosperity by promoting balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure growth and accelerating regional economic integration.
Lokman said that Apec will provide abundant opportunities for the people of Malaysia to prosper, especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs) which will participate in the preparation and hosting of the event.
This, he said, is in line with the core elements and vision in organising Apec 2020, namely ‘Shared Prosperity’, ‘Malaysian Hospitality’ and ‘Malaysia Boleh’.
“There will be tenders, jobs, network sessions and other possibilities waiting for Malaysians to showcase their skills, expertise, technology, hospitality, food and much more to 20 other economies which represent about 80 per cent of our trade and 74 per cent in our foreign direct investment (FDI).
“We are currently having ongoing engagements with various parties to promote and celebrate the best of Malaysia for Apec 2020, including showcasing fresh Malaysian agricultural produce like durian, rock melon, starfruit and other local fruits,” said Lokman.
Apart from that, he said that the Apec 2020 secretariat is hoping to feature some of the world’s best speakers and entrepreneurs, including Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Alibaba Group co-founder and executive chair Jack Ma, to share their latest thoughts on entrepreneurship, trends in technology and the economy.
On another note, Lokman said that as the host of Apec 2020, Malaysia will take pride in leading the discussions to address emerging issues faced by the region; and shaping the next new goals for Apec after the Bogor Goals, one of Apec’s flagship initiatives.
The Bogor Goals were announced in 1994 after Apec leaders met in the Indonesian city of Bogor. They adopted “the long-term goal of free and open trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific”, setting a deadline of “no later than the year 2020.”
According to the 2018 Bogor Goals Progress Report, tariffs have fallen, more free trade agreements are improving market access conditions for goods and services, and customs reforms are making it easier, cheaper and faster to trade.
“There will be a new strategic framework that we hope will be the new vision for Apec, while at the same time signalling that Malaysia is ready to be great again and stand alongside other developed economies,” Lokman added. -- Bernama