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Monday, June 12, 2017, 10:10 (GMT+7)
APEC 2017 – strategic vision of Vietnam’s diplomacy

Hosting APEC demonstrates the dynamic, leading and responsible role played by each member of this prominent economic cooperation mechanism in the Asia – Pacific region. APEC Viet Nam 2017 has been sailing only halfway of the voyage. For what has been achieved, our friends and partners all highly appreciate Viet Nam’s organization of the year in a thoughtful and professional manner as well as her proposals and initiatives.

This year, Viet Nam hosts the APEC for the second time when the world and the region are undergoing complicated evolutions and developments. While APEC is accelerating the realization of the Bogor Goals of free and open trade and investment by 2020, some obstacles against globalization and economic linkages have emerged. However, nearly 10 years after the global financial crisis which broke out in the 2008-2009 period, we are now witnessing more positive developments, including new prospective signals in global and regional economic and trade growth. This requires that the navigators of the APEC ship work together so as to make more robust changes to the Forum, and hence bringing about more substantial benefits to the people and businesses. Therefore, the international community considers APEC Viet Nam 2017 both as a challenge and an opportunity to boost growth and connectivity in the Asia-Pacific region and in the world, thereby contributing to the maintenance of peace, stability and development in a turbulent world.

Deputy PM Pham Binh Minh chairs the 7th meeting of the National Committee for APEC 2017 (Photo: VNA)

The APEC Year 2017 is an important opportunity for Vietnam to highlight the spirit and intellectual capacity of her diplomacy, particularly the multi-lateral diplomacy in the deep and broad international integration of the country. The successes of APEC Year 2006 and the prestige gained through her high responsibility in various international organizations have brought Viet Nam to the APEC Year 2017 with a new stature.

As a responsible member of APEC, Vietnam set out the theme “Creating new dynamism, fostering a shared future” for APEC Year 2017 which has been welcomed and nurtured by international friends and partners. In the continuation of  recent achievements of APEC cooperation, Viet Nam has introduced four priorities on fostering sustainable, creative and pervasive growth; deepening comprehensive economic linkage; enhancing MSMEs’ competitiveness and innovation in the digital age, and strengthening food security and sustainable agriculture in response to climate change. These meet the interests and benefits of member economies, reflecting the common trend in international cooperation, and equally serving the socio-economic development demand of our country in a new period as well.

The identification of the right theme, priorities and directions of cooperation for APEC YEAR 2017 clearly reflects the strategic vision of Viet Nam's diplomacy.

First and foremost, it is the vision of a peaceful, stable and dynamic Asia-Pacific which  continues to be the driver of regional and global economic growth and linkages in which the APEC Forum, the ASEAN Community, the Mekong Sub-regional Cooperation Mechanisms, and bilateral and multilateral Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) ... co-developed and complemented each other, forming a sustainable and comprehensive regional architecture. That strategic vision is fostered from the strong belief that the 21st century needs to be shaped by equality, mutual benefit and fundamental principles of international law, not by the "zero sum” (lose-win) principle, especially in economic, trade and investment cooperation. All  countries in the region, whether they are APEC members or not, share the common interest in building Asia-Pacific partnership for sustainable and inclusive development in the 21st century.

Second, APEC activities this year should create the new impetus to promote growth and bring regional economic integration to a new height and to reiterate that the Forum is for the people and businesses. APEC needs more impetus for quality growth, structural reform, inclusive social-economic and financial development; strengthen connectivity; develop global value chains and collaborate on the next-generation economic - commercial issues... At the same time, another pressing need is to accelerate effort to completely obtain the Bogor Goals, to maintain regional momentum in such frameworks as the TransPacific Economic Partnership (TPP), Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), etc... toward the formation of the Asia-Pacific Free Trade Area (FTAAP).

Third, 2017 is expected to be the year to continue affirming APEC's role as a forum for initiating ideas, directing and coordinating economic linkages, thereby promoting the building of a sustainable transparent, highly-adaptable regional architecture which ensures the complementarity and harmonization of multi-layered mechanisms. Accounting for 39% of the world's population, 57% of GDP and 49% of global trade, APEC should continue to promote its pioneering role in the global effort for sustainable development and adaptation to climate change, for promotion of multilateral trading system and addressing common challenges such as the adverse effects of globalization and digitalization, and increased inequality...

Fourth, after 28 years of formation and development, this is also an important time to shape the APEC Vision for the post 2020 period. That vision should clearly define the objectives, long-term direction and pillars of cooperation for the Forum in the next 10 to 15 years. Promoting the spirit of equal, voluntary and non-binding cooperation for mutual benefits is necessary to guarantee the dynamism and attractiveness of APEC with diverse history, culture and development levels. Besides, the leading role of APEC in shaping regional and global architecture and governance should be further defined.

Bearing that in mind, the APEC Year 2017 promises to create a new momentum for the Forum. This is also a great opportunity for Viet Nam to join hands with other members to shape the future of not only APEC, but also regional economic structure. APEC 2017 again serves as a solid testimony that multilateral diplomacy is an important mainstay for nations, large or small, to foster their interests and improve their position in a world of extensive globalization.

Pham Binh Minh, Member of the Politburo, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs

Chairman of the National Committee for  APEC 2017

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