KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia The 24th Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT) has recognised the importance of digital economy as the enabler in today’s businesses.

Malaysia was represented by Isham Ishak, Deputy Secretary-General (Trade) of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) at the meeting in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea on May 25-26.

Papua New Guinea will host APEC 2018 under the theme of Harnessing Inclusive Opportunities, Embracing the Digital Future.

In a statement today, MITI said the APEC MRT meeting identified priorities relating to improving connectivity, deepening regional economic integration, promoting sustainable and inclusive growth, as well as strengthening inclusive growth through structural reform moving forward.

The ministers deliberated on APEC’s leadership in the digital agenda and how to harness and foster sustainable and inclusive growth that would benefit all segments of society, including micro, small and medium enterprises, and women.

MITI said the ministers also emphasised on deepening regional economic integration and connectivity, through strengthened commitment to achieve the Bogor Goals of free and open trade and investment by 2020, as well as the realisation of the Free-Trade Area of the AsiaPacific (FTAAP).

The FTAAP was envisaged to be of high-quality and comprehensive, building upon the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which have been identified as the two possible pathways towards the realisation of the FTAAP.

The ministers also recognised the importance of the Multilateral Trading System (MTS) and the need to work together to support, strengthen and improve MTS.

At the same time, they reiterated the importance of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in maintaining the rules-based, transparent, and predictable MTS, said MITI.

During the meeting, the ministers reaffirmed their commitment to reject protectionism, reduce trade distortive and WTO-inconsistent non-tariff measures, in their effort to promote a free and mutually-advantageous trade in the APEC region, it said.

Malaysia views APEC as a driver of economic growth and greater regional integration, through trade and investment liberalisation and facilitation, with the aim of creating jobs and improving living standards, said MITI, adding that Malaysia would continue to be a constructive participant in this process.

The next APEC MRT meeting will be held in Chile in May 2019.

Source: NAM News Network

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