APEC Trade Ministers Meeting

Representatives of the United States, Japan, and three other countries had briefly walked out of an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) trade ministers’ meeting on 21st May 2022 to protest against Ukraine’s invasion by Russia. This is a two-day meeting that was held in Bangkok, Thailand.  In this meeting, discussions were held on trade and investment promotion in a post-COVID-19 world. The ministers from the 21-member countries of the APEC met virtually for this meeting with New Zealand serving as the chair.

Which countries walked out during the meeting?

The countries involved in the walkout were:

  • Japan
  • Australia
  • The United States
  • New Zealand
  • Canada

The walkout happened when the economic development minister of Russia, Maksim Reshetnikov started delivering his speech. The delegations from the 5 countries left the meeting room for around three minutes, the duration of the Russian minister’s speech. They later returned to their tables.

What is Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation?

APEC was founded in the year 1989 to discuss on economic cooperation and free trade by the countries on the Pacific Rim. These countries cover 60 percent of gross domestic product globally, around 40 percent of the world’s population, and about 50 percent of the global trade volume.

Who are the member nations of the APEC?

  1. Canada
  2. Australia
  3. Malaysia
  4. Japan
  5. USA
  6. Philippines
  7. Singapore
  8. Thailand
  9. Indonesia
  10. Brunei Darussalam
  11. New Zealand
  12. South Korea
  13. Chinese Taipei
  14. Hongkong
  15. Mexico
  16. China
  17. Chile
  18. Papua New Guinea
  19. Peru
  20. Russia
  21. Vietnam

What was discussed in this meeting regarding economic recovery?

The leaders of the 21-member countries agreed to work together to advance the integration of free trade agreements so as to boost the post-covid global economic recovery. The leaders also vowed to work in tandem with the aim of ensuring equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines as well as the promotion of clean energy. The member nations will be looking to advance economic integration in a market-driven manner so that the people and businesses of the region benefit. The leaders also agreed that there is a need to address climate change urgently and net-zero neutrality must be achieved by all.

What was discussed regarding the distribution of vaccines?

The trade ministers agreed to achieve a strong recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccine distribution must be accelerated. The ministers agreed that there is a need to accelerate the distribution and production of effective, safe, and affordable COVID-19 vaccines. The APEC countries will also be supporting the temporary waiver of certain intellectual property protection related to COVID-19 vaccines. New Zealand has supported the proposal of India and South Africa for the World Trade Organization to suspend temporarily the intellectual property protections on COVID-19 vaccines.

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