By Prince Golez
President Rodrigo Duterte called on fellow Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders to maintain “free” and “fair” trade to attain sustained economic recovery from the effects of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
In his intervention during the virtual 27th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting at the Malacañang Palace, Duterte cited the role of APEC in spurring economic growth and prosperity that has lifted millions out of poverty in the region.
Despite its shortcomings, the Chief Executive urged APEC member economies to “recommit ourselves to bolder (and) more concrete ways to ensure the region’s economic well-being and vitality.”
Meanwhile, Duterte expressed support for the APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040, a free and rules-based multilateral trading system, with the World Trade Organization as its vanguard.
“We commit to address the widening income inequalities between the countries. And we aim to empower ourselves to face the disruptive impact of a new globalization, driven by digitalization and innovation. We convey our deepest appreciation to the eminent experts who crafted the recommendations for our new Vision,” he said.
The President also noted that the vision gives the bloc renewed confidence in its collective effort to build back better, healthier, and more prosperous societies.