The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation member economies have just held their virtual leaders' summit, agreeing on a series of commitments including measures to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, promote economic recovery, and climate change mitigation. A declaration adopted by the New Zealand-hosted meeting, which brought together 21 economies spanning the Pacific Rim, was themed "Join, Work, Grow. Together". That all this came two days after the surprise announcement at the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow that the United States and China would cooperate to achieve goals set out in the 2015 climate change agreement was a welcome development. Apec must now walk its talk.
Central to the recovery effort from the Covid-19-exacerbated economic slowdown is the swift roll-out of vaccines at affordable prices. That will hopefully enable the resumption of a modicum of the intra-regional travel that Apec economies had been accustomed to in pre-pandemic times. Equally, there is the need to maintain supply-chain reliability without swinging too much towards a fortress mentality that would set back years of efforts to build reliable lattices of goods and components exchanged to maintain the global production network. Beyond that, of course, lies the need to build the digital economy and the need to install trusted mechanisms that will allow it to work seamlessly.