Minister without Portfolio and chief trade negotiator John Deng represented Taiwan at a meeting of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) trade ministers Saturday to Sunday (Taipei time) in Bangkok, Thailand. Minister Deng held talks with other countries' representatives regarding the preservation of free and open global trade and investment environments during the post-pandemic recovery phase. Taiwan places great value on environmentally sustainable development and compliance with high international standards, the minister said, making it an ideal next candidate for inclusion into the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
During the meeting, the minister also explained how Taiwan's economy has remained resilient in the midst of the pandemic, its growth in GDP and trade surpassing global averages in 2021. Taiwan's management of the pandemic situation has also garnered international recognition, ranking No. 1 globally in the Nikkei COVID-19 Recovery Index published February by Nikkei Asia.
Faced with the pandemic and regional conflicts such as the Russia-Ukraine war, Minister Deng said, we call on APEC members to renew connections between people across countries in order to drive a post-pandemic recovery. Taiwan's New Southbound Policy, for instance, has drawn many students from the APEC region to Taiwan's colleges and universities, with the number of such students continuing to grow by over 10% in 2021. We also rolled out a program this February to retain migrant workers over the long term.
In addition, we adhere to international standards and scientific evidence when conducting trade of agricultural goods and food products with our trading partners. Using actions to prove Taiwan's willingness and ability to meet high international standards is key to fulfilling CPTPP requirements and persuading member states to approve Taiwan's application to join as soon as possible, the minister said.
Minister Deng also called on all APEC members pay greater attention to sustainable development issues relating to the environment. Taiwan has committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 and is promoting a Climate Change Response Act, all with the aim of contributing jointly with other countries to global sustainability in economic growth.