APEC leaders say free, open trade and investment key for region

FILE PHOTO: A view shows virtual APEC Economic Leaders Meeting 2020, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia November 20, 2020. REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) on Friday said free, open, non-discriminatory and predictable trade and investment are needed to drive economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

The bloc’s 21 members also reaffirmed support for “agreed-upon rules of the WTO” in promoting stability and predictability of international trade flows, in a joint declaration released after the APEC leaders’ summit hosted virtually by Malaysia.

This was APEC’s first joint communique in three years. Countries failed to come to an agreement in 2018, after talks were stymied by disagreements over trade and investment between the United States and China, and last year’s gathering in Chile was cancelled due to violent street protests.

Reporting by Joseph Sipalan and A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Alex Richardson