Minister Ng addresses APEC trade ministers


May 22, 2022 – Bangkok, Thailand — Global Affairs Canada

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Good morning Mr. Chair.

Colleagues, thank you for the insightful dialogue about how APEC economies can work together as we navigate through COVID-19 and beyond.

The last two years have witnessed economic disruptions and mobilizations unseen in generations. It’s remarkable how far we have come, and how much has changed.

We may never be able to return to what we used to call “normal,” but we can certainly learn from these experiences and grow our future.

To do this, we must re-build and re-imagine our international trade relationships, working together to achieve shared prosperity for our peoples.

That was true in the past and is also what’s true in the future: none of this is possible without a strong foundation rooted in the rules-based international order.

Rules-based trade enables economic growth and good jobs for our workers.

The incredible rise of APEC economies has been fuelled by rules-based trade, and with it, the growth of the middle class. In some cases, the creation of a middle class.

Our futures cannot, however, be business as usual.

While we work together in important areas such as WTO reform, digitalization, climate change, and inclusive growth to support the economic recovery from COVID-19, we cannot be proponents of international cooperation while ignoring the disruption to the rules-based international order from Russia’s unjustifiable and illegal invasion of Ukraine.

This is not a simple regional geo-political issue isolated from APEC or our trade discussions: it is a direct challenge to the international rules-based order, a system that APEC itself embodies.

Without upholding the respect for basic rules – borders and territorial integrity – our institutions and our ways of life are threatened. Not just in Ukraine, but in all of our countries.

Colleagues, you have all seen first-hand the effects of Russia’s invasion in your own backyards: soaring energy costs, destabilized supply chains, food shortages and inflationary increases.

To overcome these issues, particularly in a post-pandemic world, we must seek to uphold and to strengthen the rules-based trading system, which cannot happen if we do not hold those who challenge it to account.

Rules-based trade enables stability. It enables prosperity. It enables peace.

These are the exact goals that we are gathered here to advance, especially after the global fight over the last two years through the COVID-19 pandemic.

As trade ministers, we must provide leadership.

We must double-down on respect for the rules, while building new rules that set the course for our prosperous futures.

We must find innovative ways to tackle the challenges facing our respective economic recoveries.

And we must do all of this while advancing the values through which we want to build our children’s and our grandchildren’s futures.

I am reminded about APEC – the innovation and incubator of ideas and solutions for the region, and indeed, for all of us.

We will drive for green, sustainable economic growth focused on inclusion of under-represented groups and MSMEs.

We will leverage the accelerated digitalization of our consumers and businesses to enable more of our workers to benefit from regional and global growth.

And we will tackle the supply chain, food security, and energy security issues that have been exposed through the pandemic and through the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Canada will always uphold and defend the international rules-based order, and the trading system we have all worked so hard to build.

And we will work with partners to advance shared prosperity across the Asia-Pacific region, especially during these times of great challenges.

Deputy Prime Minister, we wish Thailand great success in their host year, and I assure you that Canada will actively be working as partners to tackle the challenges and opportunities that 2022 will bring.

Thank you Mr. Chair.

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