Asia-Pacific in 2020: Looking Back and Looking Forward


About the Webinar

APEC leaders set aside differences on Friday 20 November 2020 with their first joint communique in three years. Leaders agreed that more had to be undertaken to foster an enabling environment for trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific especially with the pandemic still ongoing. The APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040 that will make free and fair trade the focus of the APEC agenda for the next two decades was also endorsed. Leaders stressed the need to continue to support the multilateral trading system through the agreed-upon rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO) of promoting stability and predictability under the APEC 2020 theme of “Optimising Human Potential towards a Resilient Future of Shared Prosperity. Pivot. Prioritise. Progress”.

On reflection and looking forward, the broader Asia-Pacific economy, that the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council’s State of the Region report covers, will contract by 3.1 percent, significantly worse than during the Global Financial Crisis of 2009. The PECC report also considers the potential that the recently signed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) has for providing a boost to growth and APEC’s long term vision for a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP).

What were some of the key elements of the APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040 Vision? How will APEC continue to drive growth in the Asia Pacific, Southeast Asia and Singapore? How does the RCEP bring APEC closer to the eventual establishment of the Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific?

About the Speakers

Topic: A Recap of 2020 and a Glimpse of NZ Year

Rebecca Fatima Sta Maria is the executive director of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, or APEC, Secretariat based in Singapore where she advises and provides support for the forum’s 21 diverse member economies. Styled “Tan Sri Datuk” in her native Malaysia, where she was a top-level civil servant and trade negotiator, Dr Sta Maria played an integral role in Malaysia’s participation in multilateral trade and cooperation. As Secretary-General of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry she often represented Malaysia in minister-level APEC meetings. She also oversaw the formulation of Malaysia’s positions in agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. And, as representative to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Dr Sta Maria chaired the body that drafted ASEAN’s economic community blueprints for 2015 and 2025.

Topic: APEC Refreshed

Benjamin Tan is a Senior Assistant Director at the Trade Division of the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) in Singapore. At MTI, Benjamin joined the International Trade Cluster starting with a focus on Trade in Goods and Standards-related issues, and moving to the APEC team in 2014.Benjamin was the Convenor of the APEC Market Access Group from 2015 to 2017. Benjamin has been actively involved in several of Singapore’s Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations. These include the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the Eurasian Economic Union. He is currently involved in FTA negotiations between Singapore and MERCOSUR. Prior to joining MTI, Benjamin was with the private sector, working in China and the Philippines.

Topic: The State of the Region: The Impact of COVID-19 and the Role of APEC’s Post 2020 Vision in a Sustainable Recovery

Eduardo Pedrosa is the Secretary General of the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC) International Secretariat based in Singapore. He leads the Council’s flagship annual report, the State of the Region. He has edited several books including Towards Balanced and Sustainable Growth Strategies for Post Crisis Asia (2010) with Masahiro Kawai, Tan Khee Giap and Grace Aw; and An APEC Trade Agenda: The Political Economy of a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (2007) with Charles Morrison. He has also written extensively on economics and trade issues including: Trade and Connectivity in the Post-COVID-19 World (with Pascal Lamy, 2020); Globalization, Inequality and the Rise of Protectionism, (2015); Towards an ASEAN Economic Community: Matching the Hardware with the Operating System (2009). He is a member of the Advisory Board of the World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Report. Before moving to Singapore, he was the coordinator of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung’s Southeast Asia cooperation program based in Manila and co-editor of its journal on regional economics and politics. He has also worked for the Economist Intelligence Unit and the Philippine government. He is a graduate of the London School of Economics.


This webinar will be delivered online entirely. You can join the webinar at the specified date and time using devices (computer, phone, or tablet) with internet connection.

Please register here to receive your unique link for joining the webinar.

Limited spaces only, register early to avoid disappointment.

To join the webinar,
1. Install the Zoom client onto your computer or download the app on your mobile device.
2. Set up a Zoom account, using the following link:
3. Click on the unique link in your email.

For the best experience, please mute your microphone. If you have questions for the speakers, please key in your questions via the Q&A, stating your name and affiliation. The moderator will field them to the speakers during the Q&A session.


Dec 14 2020


4:00 pm - 5:30 pm