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Viet Nam to strengthen relations expand prospects
October 28, 2017, 1:06 pm
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Hosting this year’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, APEC 2017 meetings in Viet Nam is a significant opportunity for the country to draw focus on its foreign policy agenda, particularly the multi-lateral diplomacy that it has pursued, while actively accelerating comprehensive integration of the Asia-Pacific region. The successful hosting of APEC 2006 and the country’s increasing status on the international arena for admirably completing its missions in many organizations and fora in recent years has brought Viet Nam into APEC Year 2017 with a new dynamism.

After years of strong economic growth and surging foreign direct investment, Viet Nam is today emerging as a key middle-income country in the Southeast Asian political and economic sphere. A nation of ancient traditions, with a youthful and energetic population, the Socialist Republic is also moving through a period of additional economic reforms, while continuing to leverage its strategic location and strong international relations to further boost its rapidly growing overseas trade activity.

According to the statistics, Vietnam's economy has been performing remarkably well in recent years, with unemployment at just 2.3 percent and growth projected to exceed 6 percent annually until 2019. After 9 months of 2017, Vietnam is poised to make a gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 6.41 percent, the highest GDP growth in the region in 2017, while the average for ASEAN in the same period is 4.7 percent. Vietnam also lured about US$19.2 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI), up 54.8 percent against the same period last year. Export revenues reached nearly $154 billion, while 93,000 new enterprises were formed. CPI rate increased about 3.79 percent as predicted.

Higher position, more substantial benefits: For Viet Nam, APEC is one of the most important multilateral fora and offers the most substantial benefits. The Forum brings together 13 of the 25 strategic and comprehensive partners of Viet Nam, as well as the country’s leading economic and trade partners. The18 APEC members are the key partners in bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements to which Viet Nam is a signatory. APEC members account for 78 percent of foreign direct investment, 75 percent of trade in goods, 38 percent of official development assistance, and 79 percent of Viet Nam’s international tourist arrivals. Approximately 80 percent of overseas Vietnamese students are studying in APEC member economies.

Therefore, APEC 2017 is seen as an important event of Viet Nam’s diplomacy and the most significant contribution of our country to APEC cooperation in the period of extensive and intensive international integration. Together with taking the role of ASEAN Chair in 2020 and running for the United Nations Security Council 2020-2021, as well as completing the WTO accession commitments in 2018, the APEC 2017 will contribute to the consistent realization of the very important policy of Viet Nam’s 12th National Party Congress: "to improve the quality and effectiveness of multilateral foreign affairs and proactively contribute to the building and shaping of multilateral mechanisms".

The support and active participation of APEC member economies, regional and international organizations to APEC 2017 efforts will be a catalyst for Viet Nam to promote its ‘soft power’. It is no accident that Viet Nam became the first APEC host country to be invited to the G-20 meetings this year. That reflects the trust and appreciation of international friends for the initiatives and ideas that Viet Nam has proposed for APEC and beyond the region. Obviously, the APEC 2017 activities have been, and will contribute to, affirming the increasingly important role of the Forum as well as its worthy position in regional and global governance.

Activities in 2017 will also provide opportunities for Viet Nam to establish partnership into deepened and stable frameworks and particularly enhance long-term interests with key APEC members. During the APEC High-level Week in November, several meetings, official visits by senior APEC leaders to Viet Nam have been scheduled to further deepen bilateral relations and enhance coordination in regional and international affairs.

From a socio-economic perspective, completing the goals, implementing APEC strategies and action plans, as well as fulfilling commitments under ASEAN FTAs, will provide the driving force for economic reform and restructuring, transforming the growth model, and improving the business and investment environment in Viet Nam. This is a precondition to realizing the determination of the government to build an environment of integrity that facilitates the mission of acting and serving the interests of the people and businesses.

For many localities and businesses, the nearly 200 APEC activities in 2017 have been bringing opportunities for improving business, enhancing cooperation, increasing investment and tourism among others. The APEC High-level Week in Da Nang will attract about 10,000 delegates from regional and international businesses and major media conglomerates. It is a golden opportunity to promote the image of a dynamic and active Viet Nam as well as improve the comparative advantages of localities and regions throughout the country. This is also a chance for ministries, industries, localities and enterprises to sharpen their capabilities to integrate into the world and contribute to the country's integration culture.

Viet Nam and Middle-East countries have been cooperating in many fields, from oil to agriculture and tourism. Recently, many business groups from the Middle-East have been arriving in Vietnam to find opportunities to collaborate with each other. For instance, the Nghi Son Refinery and Petrochemical Complex project reveals the hope for Vietnam and Kuwait to cooperate and work together for mutual benefit. It is hoped that in future, Viet Nam and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries will have more joint ventures project such as Nghi Son to further develop relationship between the two sides.

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