Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. A warm welcome to Singapore, and the sixth CPTPP Commission meeting.
a. Happy to see colleagues for the first in-person Ministerial meeting that we are convening since the start of COVID-19 more than two years ago.
2. As our economies recover from the pandemic, there are uncertainties in the global economy.
a. First, the pandemic is not completely behind us yet. We need to remain vigilant, and always be prepared for the next outbreak.
b. Second, the global economy is facing a surge in inflation, with prospects of slower growth as countries around the world tighten their monetary policy, as well as headwinds from anti-globalisation sentiments and geopolitical tensions.
We need to work together to strengthen economic resilience and create more opportunities for our businesses and people.
3. When we concluded the CPTPP in 2018, our shared goals were to pursue greater trade liberalisation and deeper economic integration to address the challenges of a 21st century economy.
a. To this end, we negotiated ambitious and comprehensive market access coverage, with robust rules in traditional areas such as goods and standards, services and investments.
b. We also pioneered rules in new areas such as promoting digital trade, environmental protection and intellectual property rights in support of R&D and innovation.
4. Four years on, I am pleased that we have made progress on several fronts.
5. First, the CPTPP remains the benchmark for trade agreements.
a. CPTPP’s digital trade provisions form the basis for newer forms of agreements such as the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA) and serve as reference benchmarks for the WTO negotiations on the Joint Statement Initiative on E-commerce.
b. Glad that discussions on this front have been further advanced this year on the digital economy and green economy.
6. Second, the CPTPP has delivered economic benefits to businesses, workers and consumers.
a. There has been an increase in trade among CPTPP Members.
i. Trade in goods is estimated to have increased from US$467 billion in 2019 to US$535 billion in 2021. This amounts to an almost 15% increase despite the pandemic.
ii. Similar upward trend for trade in services has been observed, driven by the growth in digital services, especially for telecommunications and information services.
7. Third, the CPTPP has strengthened strategic partnerships among the Members.
i. Heartened to see the spirit of solidarity and cooperation among CPTPP Members as we worked closely together throughout the pandemic to maintain flow of essential goods and address supply chain vulnerabilities.
8. In tandem, the economic coverage of the CPTPP continues to grow.
a. I want to take this opportunity to congratulate Malaysia on its recent ratification of the CPTPP.
b. The CPTPP has also attracted the attention of several aspirant economies, with five applications received since the Agreement entered into force in 2018.
i. This high level of interest is testament to the value of the CPTPP.
ii. Further anchors the Agreement as a pathway towards a Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP).
9. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a full agenda ahead of us, there is much to review what we have achieved this year and discuss the way forward for the implementation and growth of the CPTPP.
a. I want to extend my appreciation to my colleagues and officials for all the hard work in getting us here today.
b. We will continue to work with all CPTPP members to advance the ambition of the CPTPP in support of a free and open rules-based multilateral trading system.
c. Thank you.
Please click here for the Annex.
 The statistics are from recent studies completed by ACI, specifically “Three Years into CPTPP: An Overview of Trade in Goods and Services”.