DANANG: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has kicked off his participation at the two-day Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders summit by spending about one hour fielding questions from CNBC anchor Nancy Hungerford.
Sharing the stage with Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neil at the APEC CEO Summit this morning, Najib answered questions ranging from globalisation, APEC and Trans-Pacific Partnership to Malaysia’s Vision 2020, US changing tone towards China, North Korea’s nuclear missile threats and terrorism.
He said what APEC had achieved so far was quite remarkable as trade barriers had gone down substantially, leading to greater free trade and a more prosperous Asia Pacific region.
Nevertheless, he said there is more needed to be done especially on issues concerning women, gender equality and trade between countries.
"APEC has achieved a certain stature. It is a meeting that you cannot miss. That speaks volume of how far APEC has gone,” he said.
On the US’ policy shift against China, Najib said both countries are key to prosperity and stability in the Pacific Rim, especially to expand trade and investment and contain nuclear threats from North Korea.
He is encouraged by President Donald Trump’s friendlier approach towards China, saying this was starkly different from his previous tone.
“You cannot expand trade and investment unless you have peace and stability,” he added.
Najib spoke favourably about globalisation, pointing out that it would equalise the field, making it fairer particularly small and medium enterprises to compete internationally.
He, however, cautioned about the structural challenges associated with globalisation. This means the need for people to understand and embrace reforms and innovation including those related to digital economy.
On Malaysia’s standing comes 2020, Najib said it would be auspicious as it will find out how far it has progressed in meeting its advanced nation target.
“We are one of the major trading nations in the world. We want to step up ease of doing business and making investments here and spearhead the digital economy,” he said.
Over two days, Najib is joining other leaders in discussing ways to strengthen cooperation and foster a future of inclusive and sustainable growth for people in the region.
He is due to attend an informal dialogue with leaders of Asean countries who are not APEC members, and hold bilateral meetings with his counterparts from Australia and New Zealand on the sidelines of the summit.
Najib and the other leaders will attend dialogues with US-APEC Business Coalition and APEC Business Advisory.
He will participate in two retreat sessions on Saturday.