No joint statement for Apec meet over Russia split

No joint statement for Apec meet over Russia split

A meeting of trade ministers from the Asia-Pacific region on Sunday ended without a joint statement due to differences over Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Japan's Trade Minister Koichi Hagiuda said.

As a result, Mr Hagiuda said, the outcome of the two-day meeting in Bangkok -- which was focused on promoting economic growth in a post-Covid world -- will be reflected in the chairman's statement instead.

"There were big differences when it came to coordinating the wording [of the statement] on Russia among the members," he said at a press conference after the meeting.

Also discussed in the meeting, which was attended by representatives from 21 nations that make up the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) forum, were issues which included food security, high energy prices and stronger supply chains, according to officials.

As a sign of protest over Russia's invasion of Ukraine, top representatives from Japan, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States walked out when Maksim Reshetnikov, Russia's economic development minister, delivered his remarks during the meeting.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit on Sunday called upon Apec trade ministers to step up their efforts to better respond to crises and achieve more inclusive economic growth in the future.

Jurin: Urgesdeeper synergy

Mr Jurin made the call as he addressed trade ministers who were about to unveil their nations' perspectives on reviving and strengthening regional economic integration, supporting the multilateral trading system and reconnecting people, businesses, trade and investment.

He highlighted Thailand's theme of "Open. Connect. Balance.", and urged member economies to advance Apec's work in deepening economic integration and mobilising the progress of the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), while incorporating lessons learned from the Covid-19 pandemic to help those across all segments of society, including women and youth.

He also reiterated the importance of resuming safe and convenient cross-border travel and promoting digital and supply chain connectivity while taking into account environmental protection and food security to ensure the well-being of all people in the region.

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