In April 2020, the APEC Policy Support Unit issued Policy Brief No. 31 of April 2020 on “APEC in the Epicentre of COVID-19"
The Policy Brief also recommends that APEC Member Economies should work to ensure an uninterrupted supply of medical goods and food. This includes eliminating trade-restrictive measures on essential goods to help with the response to the crisis and eventual recovery.
Key messages from this policy brief are:
• The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented health and economic crisis facing the world. As of April 2020, it has afflicted more than 2 million people globally, 40 percent of which come from the APEC region.
• APEC real GDP is expected to contract by 2.7 percent in 2020, translating to an estimated output loss of USD 2.1 trillion and an additional 23 million workers unemployed due to the economic fallout from the pandemic.
• Economic activity has been on a near standstill as economies implemented stringent measures to contain the pandemic, including travel bans, quarantines, lockdowns, and social distancing measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.
• Healthcare systems are grappling with acute shortages of medical supplies and equipment as well as inadequate numbers of hospital beds and isolation units.
• APEC economies have responded with exceptional fiscal and monetary measures, representing 1 to 20 percent of GDP, depending on fiscal room. The measures are targeted at bolstering health systems and providing direct support to households and businesses, including micro, small and medium enterprises.
• Regional cooperation is crucial during a pandemic. Economies should come together to exchange health information, keep open the supply chains for medical and food products, and coordinate policy responses. Regional cooperation should be sustained and strengthened to ensure resilience and revive regional growth going forward.