Leader's Representative Dr. Morris Chang (張忠謀) successfully attended the entirety of the closed-door 2021 APEC Informal Leaders' Retreat, which was held by videoconference from 7:00 pm to 9:40 pm on July 16 (Taipei time). This marked the first time since APEC's founding in 1989 that the host has convened an additional mid-year leaders' meeting.
At the meeting, the host New Zealand invited attendees to share their pandemic-response experiences and discuss opportunities for cooperation in the post-pandemic economic recovery, hoping to demonstrate APEC's unity in the fight against COVID-19 and to explore how to rebuild for a better future.
International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva and WHO Health Emergencies Programme Executive Director Dr. Michael Ryan were also invited to the meeting to share their respective views on the economic and public-health effects of the pandemic. Both speakers said they believe that vaccine policy has now become the most important aspect of international economic policy, and urged the Asia-Pacific region to distribute vaccines more equitably and quickly in order to contribute effectively to the global economic recovery.
The meeting participants also approved the "APEC Economic Leaders' Statement: Overcoming COVID-19 and Accelerating Economic Recovery," which encourages APEC members to cooperate on COVID-19 diagnosis and treatment, accelerate equitable access to safe and effective vaccines, expand vaccine production and sharing, facilitate the flow of goods and services, and resume safe cross-border travel. APEC members also pledge in the statement to use economic policy to spur economic recovery and harness innovative opportunities to help our people and businesses, including women and MSMEs, and reaffirm the importance of responding to climate change and other environmental challenges, promoting sustainable financing, fostering digital transformation, bridging the digital divide, and working for a free, fair, and non-discriminatory trade and investment environment to respond to the impact of the pandemic.
Taiwan is grateful to New Zealand for taking the initiative to hold this additional, informal leaders' meeting this year amid the global pandemic, bringing members together to lead APEC through the pandemic and toward a sustainable, inclusive recovery. Taiwan will continue to cooperate with all APEC members to promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.