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Ministers Responsible for Trade media kit

The Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT) Meeting will see the ministers from all 21 APEC economies convene to discuss key trade issues and the economic challenges facing the Asia-Pacific region.

It is the first ministerial-level meeting of the APEC 2021 year, and while responding to COVID-19 will be top of the agenda, finding common ground on environmental issues and sending a strong signal of support for the multilateral trading system will also be important topics for discussion.

The trade ministers from all APEC economies will be invited to participate in a virtual media conference, which will be held immediately prior to the MRT Meeting on June 5, 2021. A dialogue between ministers and the region’s business leaders from the APEC Business Advisory Council will take place the day before the media conference.

This media kit provides background information and supporting media materials for MRT, as well as the second Senior Officials Meeting  (or SOM 2) cluster that leads up to it. It also includes a guide to gaining accreditation for APEC 2021 and participating in the MRT virtual media conference.

The APEC New Zealand media team is committed to providing you with access to everything you need to cover APEC 2021 remotely, so please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any queries or requests.

Contacting the media team

Media registration enquiries:

All other media enquiries, including interview requests:

Official APEC 2021 channels


Social media: Follow along #APEC2021

Click here to view the APEC 2021 meeting calendar, which will be updated throughout the year.

APEC Secretariat channels


Social media:

MRT media registration

APEC 2021 accredited media

Media who have already completed the APEC 2021 accreditation process will be automatically registered for the MRT virtual media conference. The media conference will appear in your calendar 48 hours before the event’s scheduled start.

If you are unsure if you have already been accredited, or how to access the APEC 2021 participation portal, email

New media registrations

All media who are part of an APEC media delegation must be registered by their economy’s Media Accreditation Officer, via the APEC 2021 Registration Portal.

If you are not part of an APEC media delegation, not already accredited for APEC 2021, and wish to register as a media delegate, you will need to apply by emailing We will need the following information:

  • Title (Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms/Dame/Sir/Dr/Prof)
  • First name and surname
  • Gender (male/female/gender diverse)
  • Email address
  • Mobile phone number, including international dialling code (for example +64). This phone number will be used to receive a secure two-factor authentication code to log into the APEC 2021 virtual meeting platform
  • Media organisation
  • Job title
  • A photo of your business card or press card; or an email or letter confirming your employment.

Once your application is approved, you will receive an email confirming your media accreditation for APEC 2021 with further information regarding account set up. You will be accredited for the rest of the year and each virtual media event will appear in your calendar 48 hours before the event’s scheduled start.

To participate in the MRT media conference you must have applied for accreditation by Monday May 31, 2021 to ensure there is enough time to process your application.

If you need assistance with the registration process at any stage, please contact

MRT virtual media conference

Time: Saturday 05 June, 2021 from 22.00-22.40pm NZT

Focus: Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting – the work that has been done so far this year to prepare for MRT and the policy areas under discussion.

Speakers: The media conference will be led by the MRT Chair, New Zealand Minister for Trade and Export Growth Hon Damien O’Connor; the trade ministers from all 21 APEC economies will also be invited to participate.


  • Media log into the virtual media conference platform – from one hour before the media conference begins. Instructions will be supplied to all registered media.
  • Welcome from the MC
  • Opening remarks from the MRT Chair
  • 30-minute Q&A session will follow – the MC will direct media to ask their questions on-screen and then direct each question to the MRT Chair or the most appropriate economy representative.
  • Registered media will be invited to submit questions before the media conference, but questions for the MRT Chair submitted via direct message during the media conference will also be accepted.

Media conference materials: After the close of the virtual media conference, registered media will be notified when the MRT media conference materials have been uploaded to the APEC 2021 media assets portal.

  • Post-event media materials will include:
  • A recording of the media conference.
  • High definition recording of the opening remaks by MRT Chair, New Zealand Minister for Trade and Export Growth Hon Damien O’Connor.
  • Individual high definition video files for each Q&A from the media conference.
  • Behind-the-scenes imagery of the media conference.

At the close of the MRT Meeting, these additional materials will be made available:

  • Media release announcing MRT Meeting outcomes.
  • Video remarks by the MRT Chair in response to the meeting outcomes.

New Zealand media: 

New Zealand-based media will have the option of watching the media conference in person, in Wellington, and to film and photograph proceedings. If you are interested in coming to the APEC New Zealand venue for the MRT media conference, please contact the media team at

MRT media conference participants

Hon Damien O’Connor – New Zealand Minister for Trade and Export Growth

As New Zealand Trade and Export Growth Minister, Damien O’Connor will chair the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting on 5 June, 2021. Mr O’Connor’s background in farming and adventure tourism drives his view that well-paid, sustainable jobs and industry growth are needed to improve everyone’s future. He is a passionate advocate for rural communities and for a thriving agricultural sector.

Mr O’Connor was first elected to Parliament in 1993 and in the 2020 Labour Government, was appointed Minister for Trade and Export Growth, Minister of Agriculture, Minister for Biosecurity, Minister for Land Information, and Minister for Rural Communities.

The Ministers Responsible for Trade from all 21 APEC economies will also be invited to participate in the virtual media conference. We will not know which ministers have accepted the invitation until closer to the event.

What happens at MRT?

The Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT) Meeting in June is the first Ministerial meeting at APEC 2021. Held annually, it brings together Trade Ministers from across APEC and underpins the region’s commitment to the multilateral trading system, and trade and investment liberalisation.

This will be the third MRT meeting since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. While not a silver bullet, trade plays an important role in supporting the region’s health and economic recovery.

In 2020, Ministers agreed a Declaration on Facilitating the Movement of Essential Goods at the MRT meeting. At APEC 2021, they will look at how the region is working to implement the declaration, and ensure essential goods – like vaccines – are moving across borders safely and efficiently.

Policy discussions at MRT

As host of APEC 2021, it is New Zealand’s ambition that the Asia-Pacific region joins together to respond to the immediate issues presented by COVID-19 for the benefit of all.

In response to the pandemic, the Asia-Pacific region has seen its sharpest increase in protectionism since 1995. Globally, there have also been worrying trends of vaccine- protectionism and increasingly restricted supply chains affecting the flow of goods and services around the world.

Last year, the Ministers Responsible for Trade issued a declaration to keep supply chains open and facilitate the movement of essential goods. APEC was among the first international forums to deliver a joint declaration of this kind.

When the Ministers Responsible for Trade meet in June this year, the aim is to build on this work and ensure markets are kept open, enabling the safe and efficient distribution of vaccines, and to position the region for a rapid economic recovery.

MRT is an opportunity to send a strong signal to the world about how a fair multilateral trading system benefits us all. Ministers also have a unique window of opportunity at this year’s MRT to shape a recovery that is greener, more sustainable and more inclusive.


2021 is undoubtedly the year of the vaccine, and it is a priority at the Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting to reach consensus on measures that will support the safe, efficient and predictable supply of COVID-19 vaccines and related essential goods and services.

As the region’s leading trade and economic forum, APEC will look to complement and support the work of other multilateral organisations and initiatives such as the World Health Organization and  the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) to facilitate the movement of vaccines.

The Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting presents an opportunity for APEC member economies to join together and expedite the movement of vaccines across borders, while signalling a commitment against vaccine-protectionism. Enabling the successful distribution of vaccines throughout the Asia-Pacific region will be critical to its recovery.

Building back better  

There is a significant opportunity for APEC to support the region’s transition to a low-carbon future through the further liberalisation of environmental goods and services, addressing environmentally harmful subsidies. Ministers can also signal the region’s commitment to the growing participation of women, indigenous people and other groups in regional economic activity.

The APEC List of Environmental Goods is one of APEC’s most significant trade and environmental achievements, cutting tariffs to 5 percent or less on 54 goods. It has now been eight years since the agreement of the original list in 2012. The Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting will be an opportunity for member economies to build on APEC’s previous success and discuss the possible addition of new goods, as well as a complementary approach to promoting greater trade in environmental services.

Ministers will also have a chance to advance APEC’s longstanding commitment to phasing out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.

APEC Trade Ministers and ABAC Dialogue

The APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) is a high-level group of business leaders that advises APEC leaders on priority issues for business in the region. This connection with business across the Asia Pacific is a major strength of APEC’s work.

For 2021 ABAC has adopted the theme “People, Place and Prosperity, Tāngata, Tauao, me te Taurikura”.

At its second plenary meeting for 2021 on 11 May, the Council will continue work on its recommendations to APEC governments, which will be delivered later in the year.

On 4 June, New Zealand’s Minister for Trade and Export Growth Hon Damien O’Connor will host a dialogue between APEC Trade Ministers and ABAC members. This is an exciting and new opportunity for trade ministers to hear from the private sector their views on recovering from the economic shock caused by the ongoing pandemic.

Senior Officials’ Meeting 2

The second Senior Officials’ Meeting – known as SOM2 – brings together hundreds of government officials from the 21 APEC economies to progress APEC’s important work in May and June.

The Senior Officials’ Meetings play an important role at APEC by providing a space for representatives and experts to meet and discuss the breadth of APEC’s work: from digital trade to food safety and emergency preparedness.

At the end of SOM2, senior officials will come together to review their work, and consider what will be presented to Ministers for their endorsement.

Throughout the APEC 2021 year, a key deliverable is an implementation plan for the Putrajaya Vision 2040. At SOM2, officials will work towards agreeing the elements of this plan – an important step in its development this year.

Recordings of the SOM Chair’s opening remarks will be uploaded to the APEC 2021 media assets portal.

Putrajaya Vision 2040: The implementation plan

With the APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040 agreed in 2020, APEC Economies are now working towards a detailed plan of action to make the Vision a reality.

This plan will be a key document in setting APEC’s agenda for the next 20 years, including a monitoring mechanism.

The implementation plan will expand on the three economic drivers of growth agreed to by the region in the Putrajaya Vision: trade and investment; innovation and digitisation; strong, balanced, secure, sustainable and inclusive growth.

The implementation plan is APEC’s most important task for the year, and a core focus for New Zealand as host.

At SOM2, economies will discuss and work towards agreeing the elements of the plan. This foundation is an important step towards the drafting of the document this year.

Putrajaya Vision 2040

At the APEC 2020 Leaders’ Meeting, hosted by Malaysia, APEC economies agreed the Putrajaya Vision 2040. It replaces the previous Bogor Goals, which guided APEC’s work up to 2020,  and outlines a vision of an open, dynamic, resilient and peaceful Asia-Pacific community, for the prosperity of all people and future generations.

APEC 2021 policy priorities

 New Zealand’s priorities were developed through many discussions with key stakeholders. They include elements of APEC’s previous and ongoing work and provide a space for continued dialogue on what are complex, long-term issues like sustainability in trade.

The three policy priorities were also shaped by the COVID-19 crisis and are focused on bringing the region together to promote an inclusive, sustainable and resilient recovery:

1. Economic and trade policies to strengthen recovery

This priority focuses on APEC’s economic response to COVID-19. It is about encouraging trade and economic policies that support openness and connectivity, and reduce friction at the border. The goal is to reduce barriers, making it easier for companies to trade and do business throughout the APEC region.

2. Increasing inclusion and sustainability for recovery

This priority acknowledges the need for APEC’s long-term response to COVID-19 to be sustainable and inclusive of all people. It is about enhancing the participation of groups such as women and indigenous people in the economy, and ensuring their contributions are valued. It will also ensure the region’s recovery can be used to improve sustainability outcomes, including in the area of climate change.

3. Pursuing innovation, and a digitally enabled recovery

The final priority focuses on APEC taking advantage of innovation in the digital space. Innovations can improve the way business is done, making it more efficient and adaptable so this priority is about encouraging APEC members to embrace open and competitive markets for new technologies.