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LatinNews Daily - 19 July 2021

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In brief: Chile defends free trade at Apec meeting

* Chile’s President Sebastián Piñera has defended the promotion of free trade as an important tool to help the global economy recover from the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Piñera was speaking during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Economic Leaders’ videoconference, which included the participation of New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Arden, China’s President Xi Jinping, and US President Joe Biden, amongst other heads of state. As well as calling for Apec members to intensify collaboration and maintain their dynamism and capacity to reach consensus, Piñera suggested that the economic forum become a free trade bloc. The Apec Economic Leaders’ statement issued after the meeting merely acknowledges the importance of a free trade environment“which can help combat the far-reaching impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic”.  Apec’s 21 members represent 60% of the world economy and account for around half of global trade in goods and services.