Edward Yau joins APEC session

July 25, 2020
Trade talks
Trade talks:

Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development Edward Yau takes part in the Virtual Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting of APEC 2020.

Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development Edward Yau participated in the first-ever Virtual Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation 2020 today.


The ministers discussed APEC's response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Mr Yau called on the APEC economies to act in unity and in a manner consistent with World Trade Organization (WTO) rights and obligations. He also spoke on Hong Kong's strategy in combating the epidemic.


"This pandemic is both a public health and an economic crisis, with severe socio-economic fallout like never before. We are fighting a twin battle, and can only win the first one against the pandemic before winning the second on saving the economy.


“Let us make no mistake, the common enemy is the virus. And only by working together we stand to win, failing that we all lose.


"COVID-19 has brought forth a wave of export restrictions which would not help in our fight against the pandemic. But trade is not the problem - it is in fact a vital part of the solution.”


Mr Yau urged all economies to keep their boundaries open to ensure the smooth functioning of the supply chain and refrain from erecting trade barriers or resorting to irrationality in trade policies.


He also said that Hong Kong, as a founding member of the WTO and a separate customs territory, remains committed to a free market policy and supporting progressive trade liberalisation.


“Any unwarranted restrictive and protectionist measures at this critical juncture will only make the pandemic more lethal and detrimental to the region's long-term recovery.”


The commerce chief introduced Hong Kong's suppress and lift strategy in combating the epidemic, which allows the city to make timely and flexible adjustments to control measures in view of the overall epidemic situation.


He added that three rounds of relief measures have been progressively implemented in Hong Kong to help businesses to stay afloat and keep workers in employment.


The meeting concluded with the issuance of a statement in which ministers reaffirmed their commitment to effectively mitigate the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and promptly steer the region towards a path of resilient, sustainable and inclusive economic recovery.

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