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"APEC Vietnam 2017

           APEC in its Third Decade: Achievements
and Milestones

          The birth of APEC in 1989 took place
at a time when the world was undergoing profound changes, opening a new chapter
in the history of economic cooperation in Asia – Pacific, transforming the
region from a divided one into an increasingly interconnected market toward the
common goals of raising the people’s living standard and increasing prosperity.
          On the basis of cooperation
characterized by consensus, voluntarism, mutual benefit and mutual respect,
APEC is a meaningful cooperation forum for member economies to strengthen
dialogue and understanding, thus making important contribution to peace, stability and development in Asia – Pacific.
Therefore, for the member economies, developed or developing, Asia – Pacific
and APEC are always a top priority in their global strategy.
          Despite global economic turbulences, APEC has continued to prove its vitality and
resilience as well as its role as a key driver of global economic growth and
integration. Such vitality does not only stem from its wealth of young
labor force and rich natural resources. More importantly, it is the political
determination and efforts that every member economy itself has exerted to
promote innovation and reforms. These achievements along with APEC’s progress
in trade and investment liberalization, especially the realization of the Bogor
Goals, have upheld APEC’s role as the premier regional economic forum,
contributing nearly 60 percent and 50 percent of global GDP and trade
          APEC has also proven its pioneering role
as an incubator of ideas and a coordinator of regional economic linkages. A
number of major economic integration arrangements have originated from APEC and
its member economies. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Regional
Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) are vivid examples. APEC members have
also embarked on the road to implement connectivity blueprints, facilitating business
travelers and promoting investment for infrastructure development, among many
others. APEC economic integration, therefore, has increasingly deepened, having
made more meaningful contribution to the reinforcement
of the values and relevance of the multilateral trading system.
          Through its three decades of inception and development, APEC has step by
step proved its indispensable role in the global economic architecture.
Together with other multilateral cooperation mechanisms including the ASEAN Community,
bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements, connectivity initiatives, and
global value and supply chains, APEC will continue to make great contribution
to peace, prosperity and development in the Asia – Pacific region.

           APEC – The Opportunities and Challenges in a Changing

           The course of economic growth and integration in the Asia – Pacific is being
presented with opportunities thanks to deepened globalization, the Fourth
Industrial Revolution, particularly digital technology, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, among others. The increasing
interdependence and connectivity in the region as well as the need to address
global challenges also open up new opportunities for member economies to foster
cooperation and integration.
While regional and global economic recovery is firming, given the
international economic integration slowdown, mid-term and long-term risks,
rising protectionism, widening development gap and emerging traditional as well
as non-traditional security challenges, the regional security and development environment
has become ever more uncertain and unpredictable.
          Against such a backdrop, Vietnam and
other member economies are facing challenges in pursuing the mission, values
and commitments of APEC. It includes promoting trade and investment
liberalization and facilitation, supporting the open multilateral trading
system and cooperation on the basis of equality, mutual benefit and respect; exerting
greater efforts for an Asia – Pacific of peace, stability and prosperity, in
which all people and businesses have equal opportunities to contribute to and
enjoy the fruits of economic growth and connectivity.
          In addition to the aforementioned
challenges, there are also new opportunities. Building on its achievements,
APEC is now in an excellent position to actively contribute to maintaining the Asia
– Pacific’s role as a driver for global economic growth and integration. Key
APEC members will continue to be the world’s leading economic, trade and
technological centers in the coming decades. With over 150 bilateral and
multilateral free trade agreements that APEC members are party to, including
efforts toward the eventual establishment of a Free Trade Area of the Asia – Pacific
(FTAAP), the region will have vast potentials in terms of market, technology
and financial resources. APEC also enjoys favorable conditions to bring into
full play its role in a multi-layered international landscape thanks to its
flexible, non-binding and voluntary principles, thus enabling member economies
to reach a common voice and consensus, even on a number of issues where
differences remain.     
          Reality shows that in order to turn
challenges into opportunities, APEC member economies must have strong resolve
with concrete actions.

          APEC Vietnam 2017: Fostering a Shared Future

          The APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Da Nang, a beautiful, modern,
dynamic and hospitable coastal city, has an important mission in creating new
dynamism for APEC cooperation, integration and growth. This is also an
opportunity for APEC member economies to further deepen and elevate their
cooperation toward building an Asia – Pacific partnership of sustainable and
inclusive development in the 21st century. In the spirit of
constructive cooperation for mutual benefit and under the theme “Creating New
Dynamism, Fostering a Shared Future”, APEC Economic Leaders will discuss
directions for the forum on the following issues:
          First, create new dynamism for
sustainable, innovative and inclusive growth of APEC member economies. These efforts
should be linked with the Fourth Industrial Revolution; equipping the labor
force with new skills for work in the digital age; accelerating structural reform;
promoting innovation, start-up and business competitiveness, particularly among
MSMEs. Member economies should also work hard to build a resilient and
inclusive APEC community; promote sustainable urban – rural development, ensure
food – water – energy security, reduce disaster risks, enhance women’s economic
empowerment and create a better environment for vulnerable groups. These efforts
would help increase APEC’s growth quality.
          Second, promote trade and investment liberalization and strengthen
regional connectivity; accelerate Bogor
Goals’ achievement by 2020, deepen regional integration and connectivity, and
work toward the eventual realization of FTAAP to enhance trade and investment
flows in the Asia – Pacific and foster linkages among APEC member economies. It
is also necessary for APEC to promote an open, transparent, non-discriminatory
and inclusive multilateral trading system. The reality of world trade requires
members to enhance cooperation on issues relating to supply chains, value chains,
e-commerce, continued capacity building and regulatory coherence. This is the
pre-requisite for the forum to continue its role as the driver of economic
integration in the multi-layered global landscape.
         Third, contribute to consolidating APEC’s pioneering role in global
economic governance and in tackling common challenges; raising APEC’s adaptability
to the changing environment and its leadership in advancing reform, innovation;
and increasing APEC’s cooperation efficiency to generate tangible benefits for
the people and businesses in the region. APEC also needs to contribute to the
active implementation of global commitments, particularly the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable
Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
         Fourth, to prepare for APEC’s 4th decade of development, we
need to discuss the steps taken to develop the post-2020 strategic vision for
the forum. This vision needs to further uphold APEC’s
leading role in promoting integration, connectivity, sustainable and inclusive quality
growth, restructuring, internet/digital economy, education, quality human
resources development, reduced development gap, etc. This is also the development
needs of member economies and the common trend of international cooperation in
the 21st century.
          Fully aware of the importance of the close relations between Vietnam and
APEC, Vietnam has always made active and responsible contributions to the work
of the forum over the past 20 years. Entering the phase of comprehensive
reforms, by hosting APEC 2017, Vietnam wishes to reaffirm its foreign policy of
diversification, multilateralization of international relations and intensive
international integration; being a reliable friend and partner of the
international community. We will continue to work with other APEC member
economies in building a peaceful, stable, dynamic, interconnected and
prosperous Asia – Pacific community.-VNA

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