President Rodrigo Duterte, in his intervention speech at the recent 2020 APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting, urged the group’s officials to ensure universal access to the Covid-19 vaccine, citing their role in the region’s full recovery from the pandemic.
Duterte underscored the need to strengthen partnerships among APEC economies and their common need to make the vaccines a global public good. Comprehensive recovery means ensuring that “no one is left behind,” he stressed.
The President noted that “several modalities are available, and aside from bilateral and multilateral cooperation, tripartite arrangements can also be made between or among governments, private sector players, and multilateral financial institutions.”
“There is no other way. Let us resolve to act decisively on universal vaccine access and maximize these mechanisms, he added, noting that information is key to effective response and mitigation efforts.
At the same time, Duterte called for “free, open, and fair” trade among the 20 other APEC countries. “This is key to achieving sustained and inclusive economic recovery. and APEC will play an important role,” he emphasized.
The Filipino leader also endorsed the APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040 declaration, which reaffirms a free and rules-based multilateral trading system, with the World Trade Organization as its vanguard.
“We commit to address the widening income inequalities among the countries. And we aim to empower ourselves to face the disruptive impact of a new globalization, driven by digitalization and innovation,” he said, adding that “we convey our deepest appreciation to the eminent experts who crafted the recommendations for our new Vision.”
Duterte said the APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040 gives the region a “renewed confidence in our collective efforts and ability to build back better, healthier, and more prosperous societies.”
The virtual or online APEC meet this year, due to the pandemic, brings together 21 economies accounting for approximately 60 percent of the global gross domestic product and about 47 percent of the world’s trade volume.
APEC includes Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States, and Vietnam.