DG Azevêdo said:
"APEC's role in fostering economic cooperation and promoting trade has made a very significant contribution to growth and development across the region. This drive for cooperation on trade issues could not be more important today. Clearly this is an extremely challenging time for global trade. The trade tensions that we see these days are being reflected in the WTO itself. This has led to the current debate on reform, which touches on all areas of our work. Some have concerns about the direction these conversations may take. But inaction would compromise the relevance or even the existence of the system as we know it.
"The decisions that members take now will determine our path forward. We have the opportunity to improve the WTO, and to build a better, faster and more responsive trading system. I ask for APEC members' continued support in that effort."