Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development Algernon Yau delivered a speech at the "Trade Liberalisation: World Trade Organization (WTO)" session at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting in Arequipa, Peru.


During such discourse, Mr Yau shared his insights on how to reinforce the WTO's credibility and ensure its continued relevance in the evolving global trade landscape.

Apart from emphasising that a pressing priority is to restore by 2024 a fully and well-functioning dispute settlement system accessible to all WTO members, he called on APEC member economies to expedite discussions in an inclusive and transparent manner to achieve concrete outcomes as agreed in the 13th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC13) in Abu Dhabi.


Mr Yau noted that the WTO must demonstrate its capability to formulate rules for addressing the complex challenges of the global trading scene, citing the Joint Statement Initiative on E-Commerce and the successful conclusion of the negotiations for the Investment Facilitation for Development Agreement.


He added that the extension of the moratorium on customs duties on electronic transmissions at MC13 preserved the facilitating environment for all businesses, in particular for micro, small and medium enterprises and women-led enterprises, to continue pursuing cross-border trade and deepening their presence in the global market which is deeply ingrained in e-commerce.


The commerce chief earlier attended a joint meeting with Ministers Responsible for Women to discuss women's economic empowerment through trade, at which he said that lowering the cost of doing business or streamlining procedures through the use of technology, and wider digitalisation of trade can help women to start and develop their businesses.

Saying that Hong Kong has been implementing various measures on this front, he called on APEC member economies to help accelerate this transformation through collaborative efforts to open up new opportunities for women to participate in trade.


On the margins of the meeting, Mr Yau met Japan’s Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Economy, Trade & Industry Taku Ishii and Singapore’s Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations Grace Fu to discuss issues of mutual concern.


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