Malaysia to host first virtual APEC Leaders' Meeting on Nov. 20

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Photo courtesy: APEC 2020/Facebook

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 26) — Host country Malaysia announced on Monday it will convene by virtual means the 2020 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting on Nov. 20.

This will be the first time the annual meeting between economic leaders of the 21 member economies of APEC will be held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"APEC officials are working hard, continuing engagement and collaborating digitally across eight different time zones. We are looking forward to the first-ever virtual Leaders' Meeting and the important and relevant deliverables that will be announced this November," said APEC Secretariat Executive Director Dr. Rebecca Sta. Maria in a statement.

Under this year's theme of "Optimizing Human Potential towards a Resilient Future of Shared Prosperity: Pivot. Prioritize. Progress.", APEC economic leaders are expected to produce a declaration that will guide the forum's future work in the next decades following the deadline of Bogor Goals this year.

Adopted during the 1994 APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in Indonesia, the Bogor Goals aims to achieve free and open trade and investment among industrialized economies by 2010 and among developing economies by 2020.

Malaysia successfully hosted the first set of APEC 2020 technical meetings in Putrajaya in February this year.

Before the Economic Leaders' Meeting kicks off, the 21 APEC foreign and trade ministers will gather for the annual APEC Ministerial Meeting on Nov. 16. The APEC Business Advisory Council Meeting will be conducted on Nov. 18, while the APEC CEO Dialogues will be from Nov. 19-20.

Malacañang has yet to issue a statement whether President Rodrigo Duterte will attend the first virtual edition of the annual affair for the 21 heads of state of APEC member economies.

The 2019 APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting slated in Chile was cancelled due to widespread protests in the country.

APEC is a regional economic forum established in 1989 to promote free trade and economic integration throughout the Asia-Pacific Region. Aside from the Philippines, the other APEC member economies are Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, United States of America, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Chile, Peru, Russia, and Vietnam.