The private sector counterpart of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) has urged their member-economies to work hand-in-hand with the private sector in the fight against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
In a statement released on Saturday, the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) has asked trade and foreign ministers of APEC member-economies to ensure unimpeded flow of essential goods and tools that are critical in the current health crisis, such as medical equipment, personal protective equipment and medicines, among others.
The ABAC is composed of business leaders and executives appointed by APEC leaders in 21 member-economies to advise government leaders on business issues.
“Saving lives is obviously what matters most right now, that demands collaboration across the region on the knowledge and the tools we need to combat the health impacts and mitigate the most severe consequences in the short term” ABAC Chair Dato Rohana Tan Sri Mahmood said.
Rohana also said that there should be a framework for rapid economic recovery once the Covid-19 crisis threat decreases, adding that small businesses, the self-employed and those in the informal economy are ill-equipped to withstand the impact.
The council has also urged APEC economies to use digital technologies and connectivity and should work together to enable economic activity to continue.
For its part, ABAC Philippines welcomed the Philippine government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic in the country like passing the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.”
“While Covid-19 has critically disrupted business operations across the country, this situation has shown that Philippine businesses are ready to step up and find ways to mitigate the impact especially for entrepreneurs and ordinary workers,” ABAC Philippines member and National Competitiveness Council Private Sector Co-Chair Guillermo “Bill” Luz said.