12 Jul 2021

Ardern to chair inaugural Covid-19 APEC leaders meeting

3:00 pm on 12 July 2021

An extra APEC meeting at the leaders level focused on Covid-19, being held for the first time, will be chaired by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

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Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

The APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) forum of 21 economies on the Pacific Rim usually holds just one meeting between member economies' leaders, but Ardern announced after a Cabinet meeting this afternoon that she would chair a second one focused on the coronavirus and its economic effects.

"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," Ardern said.

APEC is a consensus-building forum that aims to create greater prosperity for its members using open dialogue, with each member given equal say standing in discussions.

It does not demand binding commitments or treaty obligations.

Its members account for 60 percent of global GDP and 48 percent of world trade.

Ardern said the meeting reflected members' desire to navigate out of the Covid-19 pandemic and its economic effects.

"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."

One of her highest priorities as chair would be to lead a regional response, and the meeting would also focus on vaccinations, economic policy, and "building more resilient, inclusive and sustainable economies".