President Xi called for unity and cooperation to confront the “once in a century challenge” of Covid-19. He emphasised the need to maintain a free-trade environment and strong multi-lateral agreement to drive innovation and the green technology the world would need for economic recovery.
A high powered lineup including Chinese president Xi Jinping, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and OECD Secretary-General Mathias Cormann has opened the APEC 2021 CEO Summit this morning.
President Xi called for unity and cooperation to confront the “once in a century challenge” of Covid-19.
He emphasised the need to maintain a free-trade environment and strong multi-lateral agreement to drive innovation and the green technology the world would need for economic recovery.
However his speech did come with a warning to APEC members that:
“Attempts to draw ideological lines or form small circles on geopolitical grounds are bound to fail,” he said.
“The Asia-Pacific region cannot and should not relapse into the confrontation and division of the Cold War era.”
Those comment have been interpreted in the Australian media as a reference to recent efforts by the US and Australia to increase geo-political pressure on China in the Pacific region.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Ardern welcomed delegates and expressed regret that they couldn’t be here in person.
“I wish I was welcoming you to the beautiful city of sails that is Auckland. But I shall do that instead in 2022, as we reconnect with the world,” she said.
Ardern talked about New Zealand’s pandemic experience saying the “lesson is that the health of our people and the health of our economies are intrinsically linked.
“New Zealand’s economy is bouncing back, in fact, it has held up incredibly well throughout.”
“Despite the tough picture internationally. Despite the challenges with supply chains. And despite the twin blows associated with the loss of two of our biggest export earners – tourism and international education. We have had strong economic growth.”
Employment was at a record high and the third highest in the OECD, and we had one of the lowest levels of government debt in the OECD.
“And while it’s been incredibly tough for many, business confidence has been sustained and companies continue to invest.”
Thousands of business leaders from the 21 Apec nations are attending the two-day summit, logging in online not just for the main panel events but for extensive networking opportunities via a groundbreaking portal of informal hangouts and live meeting rooms.
Covid forced 2020 hosts Malaysia to scale it back significantly last year.
But despite the setback with the Delta outbreak, local organisers were determined to make it happen this year.
Apec organisers have stuck with plans for the event today and tomorrow, with the venue at Auckland’s Aotea Centre effectively becoming a live broadcast studio for the fully virtual event.
The CEO Summit is separate event to the main APEC leaders Summit.
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