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Malaysia officially hands over Apec chairmanship to New Zealand

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia tonight has officially handed over the chair of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) to New Zealand for 2021.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, the chair of Apec 2020, presented the Apec logo to his counterpart Jacinda Ardern during the 27th Apec Economic Leaders' Meeting (AELM), held virtually for the first time, symbolically marking the handing over of the chair.

Muhyiddin, in highlighting the Apec 2020 achievements said it has successfully issued the Putrajaya Vision 2040, the 2020 Kuala Lumpur declaration and eight ministerial statements on trade finance, health, women SMEs and food security.

"It gives me great pleasure to know that we have finally arrived at a consensus of the leaders' declaration this year.

"This is indeed a historic and momentous occasion where we come together in a spirit of solidarity to combat a crisis like no other, and uplift our communities from the economic hardships at a toll exacted on the health of people by the Covid-19 pandemic.

"What makes this achievement even more meaningful, is the fact that our senior officials worked until the eleventh hour to come to an agreement on this declaration.

"And this for me is a clear demonstration of what we are capable of accomplishing when we set aside our differences, and of course focus on our shared values," he said in his remarks.

Muhyiddin said in spite of the immense challenges and obstacles, Malaysia forged ahead with the hosting of Apec 2020 and found creative and practical ways to fulfil its leadership role.

As the host of Apec 2020, he said, Malaysia started the year with fiscal meetings and today ended with the first ever fully virtual leaders meeting.

In his closing remarks after handing over the mantle to New Zealand for Apec 2021, Muhyiddin reiterated the core of the Putrajaya Vision, which is an open, dynamic, resilient and peaceful Asia Pacific Community by 2040, for the prosperity of all our people and future generations.

"Let us now work in solidarity to achieve this Vision. Together as an Apec family, we can accomplish this.

"We have now come to the end of our meeting. I wish to thank all of you, from the bottom of my heart, for the tremendous support that you have rendered to Malaysia, throughout our chairing of Apec 2020.

"Thank you also for your active participation today, despite the extremely late, or extremely early, hours that some of you are in," he added.

Meanwhile, Ardern, in briefly setting the scene for New Zealand's host year in 2021 said it will focus on achieving an inclusive, sustainable and innovative future.

"It is an honour to have you (Muhyiddin) hand over the stewardship of Apec to New Zealand. We will do our best to live up to the high standards you have seen for us.

"We have discussed today the crisis that the world faces and the immense challenges that we must overcome in order to recover. The way we respond as a region to these challenges will be felt for generations to come.

"Based on what I have heard, it is clear that there has never been a more important time in our history for Apec to join together and work towards achieving an inclusive, sustainable and innovative future.

"So as hosts, that is what we commit to do."

She said Apec 2021 would be the start of reigniting growth, continuing trade, and implementing their new vision and setting a plan for long lasting recovery across the entire region.

Hosting virtually, she said, would provide economies with new options and opportunities to meet and discuss how to achieve this together.

"While I will be sorry not to receive you in peace here in New Zealand. I want to invite you to bring your ideas and enthusiasm to Apec work next year.

"With your help, we can make our virtual meetings valuable and meaningful. Together we can ensure that Apec plays an important role in our region's recovery. Let's put our new vision for Apec into practice. Let's join, work and grow together."

In a video clip offering a small sample of what New Zealand's virtual host year will offer, Ardern said as countries plan for recovery from Covid-19, it is economic cooperation through Apec, the most dynamic region in the world's economy that will help nations rebuild like never before.

"The scale of the challenges the world faces today, requires us all to work together for the greater good.

"We will create an environment where connections can be made and Apec's important work continues, including progress on sustainability, ensuring widespread adoption of digital tools to drive productivity and developing inclusive plans.

"They create opportunities for all our people," she said, adding that New Zealand looked forward to providing a warm welcome to all the 2021 Apec delegates.


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