Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Doan Xuan Hung: APEC 2011– Next steps in the regional economic integration
Amid a slow recovery of the global and regional economy and a standstill of the Doha round, APEC remains an important economic forum in Asia-Pacific. To deal with emerging challenges and difficulties, the group has chosen the theme “Strengthening regional economic integration and expanding trade” as the guidance for cooperation in 2011 to promote growth, create jobs and strive for sustainable development. Accordingly, the three pillars that APEC will focus on will be strengthening regional economic integration and expanding trade, promoting green growth and advancing regulatory convergence and cooperation.
To prepare for the 19th APEC Summit, early this year, some Ministerial Meetings were convened for the first time, including the Small and Medium Enterprises Ministerial Meeting, Transport and Energy Ministerial Meeting, Forestry Ministerial Meeting and the APEC High-level Policy Dialogue on Women and the Economy. Through those meetings and activities at other levels and in various areas, APEC has executed a number of important and practical cooperation programs. Some major outcomes will be presented to be endorsed by the 19th APEC Summit, such as the removal of barriers that SMEs and female-led enterprises are facing in trading and investing in the region, the implementation of Bogor goals on trade and investment liberalization, the initiative to exempt customs duties for shipments of under US$ 100 in value, the initiative to facilitate the movement of natural persons, and new commitments to reducing energy intensity in the region and increasing energy efficiency in transport, as well as developing a transport system using alternative and low-carbon energies. Besides, APEC continues to focus its priorities and resources on helping members to build their capacity in renewal and reforms, prevention and mitigation of natural disasters, food security and anti-terrorism efforts.
On the threshold of the upcoming APEC Summit, the 23rd APEC Foreign and Economic Ministerial Meeting, the 18th APEC Finance Ministerial Meeting and the 2011 APEC Business Advisory Council SME Symposium will also be convened. Those meetings will reaffirm APEC members’ resolve and commitments to further promoting economic linkages and expanding trade in the region. Such venues will also be a platform for APEC leaders to discuss directly with the business community, so as to create a supportive and secure environment for trade and investment.
The year 2011 is marked by APEC’s continued progress and development, which highlight its role and position in the regional and global economy. This year’s Summit will be a forum for APEC leaders to discuss the way forward and find measures to speed up regional economic recovery, boost growth and sustainable development, especially for developing countries like Viet Nam.
Viet Nam - an active and responsible member of APEC
For Viet Nam, APEC is an important forum, as its members provide the largest source of ODA for Viet Nam, account for 65% of Viet Nam’s total foreign investment, 60% of exports, 80% of imports and 75% of the total amount of tourists coming to Viet Nam. Most of Viet Nam’s strategic partners and top economic and trading partners are members of APEC. Given that, APEC has played an increasingly important role in the strategy of Viet Nam to integrate more deeply and comprehensively into the world economy, as well as its industrialization and modernization efforts.
Since its accession to APEC in 1998, Viet Nam has made important contributions to the forum. Viet Nam was an impressive host of 2006 APEC, with an outstanding success of the 14th APEC Summit in Ha Noi, one of the key events guiding the long-term cooperation of APEC. Viet Nam has strictly delivered on APEC commitments such as the annual report on National Action Plan, the implementation of the Collective Action Plan and cooperation plans on trade and investment facilitation. Viet Nam also assumed the Chairmanship and was the Coordinator of many important Task Forces, including the Health Task Force in 2009-2010, the APEC Task Force for Emergency Preparedness and the E-Commerce Task Force. Viet Nam has successfully implemented 60 initiatives and co-sponsored hundreds of initiatives in trade, investment, technical and economic cooperation, healthcare, response to natural disasters and counter-terrorism. Coming up to the 2011’s APEC Summit, Viet Nam successfully organized two conferences within the framework of APEC, namely the Workshops on “Response to Irregular Floods – New Vision for APEC members” in Da Nang on 28-29 of July and on “Self Certification of Origin” in Ha Noi on 28-29 of July.
To aggressively implement the guidance of the 11th Party Congress on active international integration and intensification of relations with partners, and to sustain an important role in cooperation frameworks in Asia-Pacific, Viet Nam will continue to be an active and responsible member of APEC, thus strengthening its standing in this forum, in Asia-Pacific and the world.
President Truong Tan Sang will lead a high-ranking delegation to attend the 2011 APEC Summit, where Viet Nam will send a strong message to the world community, which is that after 25 years of renewal, Viet Nam has made significant strides in development and integration, contributing to peace, cooperation, development and the economic connectivity within ASEAN, Asia-Pacific and the world. Viet Nam has become a deeply integrated economy, a reliable partner in the region and the world with strong commitments to opening its doors and fully engaging in the global production and supply chain. Viet Nam pledges to restructure the economy, transform the growth model, continue to build the institutions and legal frameworks for a market economy and create a level, transparent and supportive environment for businesses investing and operating in Viet Nam.
During this year’s APEC Summit, along with the host and other members, Viet Nam will play an active role in guaranteeing a success for the event and bringing about important and practical outcomes not only beneficial for the region but also for Viet Nam’s own development. The Vietnamese President and delegation will have exchanges and discussions with leaders of APEC members to find out new measures to consolidate regional and global economic linkages and the relationship between Viet Nam and other regional partners, especially in economic realm, in trade and investment. The President will also address businesses from the U.S. and Asia-Pacific in an effort to increase trade and foreign investment in Viet Nam.
This event also gives Viet Nam a chance to introduce initiatives that serve the interest of the whole region and find out new opportunities to cooperate with APEC member economies, to better meet the needs of Viet Nam’s own development, first for the macro economic stability and also for the long-term goals of the Socio-Economic Development Strategy until 2020. Viet Nam will continue to be an active member of APEC and deliver on APEC commitments, which significantly help Viet Nam restructure its own economy, transform its growth model and aim at a success for the 2011-2020 Socio-Economic Development Strategy. However, to fully tap the opportunities, we also need to effectively tackle some challenges related to the complicated changes of the world economy and politics, the difference of development levels, members’ priorities and the complex net of bilateral and regional free trade deals.
Given Viet Nam’s rising influence and the policy of the Party and State on active integration, Viet Nam will continue to work with other member economies to contribute to the success of the upcoming Summit, for an Asia-Pacific region living in peace, stability and prosperity.
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