Covid-19 health crisis requires multifaceted response, says Azmin

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KUALA LUMPUR (July 25): The Covid-19 health crisis requires a multifaceted response, and the stakes are at an all-time high, hence failure is not an option, said Senior Minister cum International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali today. 

He said the world is looking to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) to offer a pathway and identify a set of concrete actions that could remedy the adverse impact of the Covid-19 crisis.

Mohamed Azmin said this was a real and significant opportunity for APEC to demonstrate that it walks the talk.

“Of immediate priority is for us to endorse the Declaration to Facilitate the Movement of Essential Goods in APEC. This declaration is a clear indication of our commitment to ensure that essential goods remain accessible even in times of crisis. 

"I understand that the consensus on this declaration remained elusive for some time. However, within this week, we managed to work collaboratively and, finally, found middle-ground solutions acceptable to all," he said.

Mohamed Azmin said this in his welcoming remarks at the maiden digital meeting for APEC trade ministers, which he chaired here, today. 

"Secondly, our Senior Officials have also elevated the proposal to facilitate the essential movement of people across borders, within APEC, for our notation. I do hope that work at the officials’ level in this area will be expedited," he said. 

He noted that steady progress has been made on the post-2020 vision and is hopeful that the vision would be finalised by year-end. 

Mohamed Azmin said APEC must strike a balance between safeguarding human lives and protecting livelihoods, while ensuring the resilience of the economy as it is not a zero-sum game and no compromise should be made one against the other. 

"We must also demonstrate a greater commitment to ensure those economic opportunities, technological solutions and healthcare systems are accessible and affordable to all, particularly those in the informal economic sectors, marginalised and under-represented groups, as well as women and youth," he added.

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