New Zealand hosts emergency Covid-19 APEC leaders summit

Sydney, Australia, Jul 16 (EFE).- New Zealand hosts Friday a virtual summit in which leaders of 21 economies that make up the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC) will participate on issues related to the pandemic, such as vaccine distribution and economic losses.

The emergency meeting, called Monday, will address the impact Covid-19 is leaving and has caused APEC economies to suffer their greatest contraction since World War II, in addition to the loss of 81 million jobs.

Covid-19, with 50 million infections and 1 million deaths among the 2.9 billion inhabitants living in the territory covered by APEC, has caused a joint contraction of the Gross Domestic Product of 1.9 percent in last year, according to data from the block.

The summit will address multilateral strategies on vaccination programs, measures for greater regional coordination for recovery and support for inclusive and sustained long-term growth, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Monday.

“The forms of cooperation necessary to overcome Covid-19 require countries to put aside narrow nationalist approaches. A full economic recovery can only come after other countries vaccinate their populations and suppress the transmission of the virus,” Ardern said.

The prime minister, praised for her management of the pandemic, defends the Covax program, which distributes vaccines to less developed countries and, in her opinion, needs a greater global effort.

Ardern also said Wednesday she will show during her appointment her support for the recommendations of the Independent Pandemic Preparedness and Response Group, co-chaired by New Zealander Helen Clark.

“We intend not just to support these recommendations, but actively participate in the lines of work to develop a new ‘Pandemic Treaty,’ improve surveillance, validation and early response globally; and strengthen the World Health Organization.” she said.

United States President Joe Biden; Russian President Vladimir Putin; and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping will participate in this first emergency summit held in the history of APEC.

The White House said this week Biden will detail the impact his economic plans may have on the “prosperity” of Pacific region and will vindicate his government’s efforts to send an “arsenal of vaccines” and resources against Covid-19 to the area.

The APEC forum, founded in 1989, represents 60 percent of world GDP, more than half of global trade, forms a market that encompasses 40 percent of the world population and aims to establish a free trade zone between the 21 economy members.

The economies that make up APEC are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, South Korea, the United States, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. EFE


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