Malaysia will promote the principle of shared prosperity when taking over the chairmanship of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in 2020, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said Wednesday.

In his officiating speech at the launching ceremony of Malaysia's chairmanship of APEC in 2020, Mahathir urged APEC members to incorporate the principle of shared prosperity in their economic models, as it could form a key thrust for the economic group, moving forward from the previous Bogor Goals, which are set to expire next year.

"To my mind, it is time that member economies consider embracing this philosophy and embed it in the current economic model. Improving the overall wellbeing of our people and enabling every citizen to have a more decent living standard will make APEC sustainable and relevant as a grouping in the long run," he said.

"In other words, trade and investment narratives will move beyond the creation of wealth, jobs and development into ensuring societal well-being as well."

One of APEC's flagship initiatives, the Bogor Goals were announced in 1994 for members to move towards the long-term goal of free and open trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific no later than the year 2020.

Mahathir also stressed it was in Malaysia's interest to ensure that this region remained business-friendly and that trade and investment policies would bring prosperity for all, even in the current uncertain global economic conditions and trade tensions.

"In order to restore faith, we need to give meaning to our economic development efforts. We must work together towards equitable share of benefits, from large corporations to small and medium enterprises right down to our citizens," he said.

APEC is a regional economic forum established in 1989 to leverage the growing interdependence of the Asia-Pacific. APEC's 21 members aim to create greater prosperity for the people of the region by promoting balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure growth and by accelerating regional economic integration.

With a combined population of 3 billion, the 21 APEC economies account for 60 percent of the world's total gross domestic product (GDP) and nearly half of world trade.

APEC is working on areas such as trade and investment liberalization, business facilitation, human security, and economic and technical cooperation, aiming to achieve sustainable growth and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.

Source: China ASEAN Business Council