URGENT: APEC leaders to push economic integration for recovery

© Kyodo News

Leaders of 21 Pacific Rim economies including Japan, the United States and China agreed Friday to advance integration through free trade agreements as they seek to drive the global recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

In a joint statement following a virtual summit, the leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum said the rules-based multilateral trading system can play an important role in achieving sustainable development, and vowed to work together to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.

They also acknowledged the need for "urgent and concrete action" to address climate change and said they "appreciate net zero or carbon neutrality commitments in this regard."