KUALA LUMPUR: Digital economy is an immediate priority area that needs focussing by the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) through intensified efforts in facilitating cross border e-commerce.
International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Darell Leiking said in embracing digital transformation, APEC needs to quickly grab the opportunity to spearhead substantive work on the digital economy to become rule-makers or risk being left behind as the rule-takers in this area.
He said this in a statement issued in conjunction with the 25th APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT) meeting, held on May 17-18 in the port city of Valparaiso, Chile.
Leiking who would lead the Malaysian trade and investment mission to three South American countries this week also said the MRT in principle agreed that APEC has an important role to play to support the Multilateral Trading System instituted by the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
He said the APEC ministers also called on the WTO to modernise its rules to adapt to the current global trade environment while resolving its prolonged operational issues.
“While reform is crucial to ensure its relevance to modern times, WTO must be able to provide an effective platform for developing economies like Malaysia to ensure their trading interests are taken care of,” said Leiking.
The minister also emphasised that APEC must start to envision its way forward post-Bogor goals, which will expire in 2020.
“It is time to humanise APEC and Malaysia looks forward to taking on this specific task as the host of APEC in 2020, with a focus to advance economic development in the region, in tandem with the socio-economic well-being of its citizens,” added Leiking.
Leiking’s trade mission to South American countries will cover Santiago, Chile beginning yesterday, Buenos Aires, Argentina today as well as Brasilia and Sao Paulo in Brazil from May 22-24. — Bernama