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Vietnam is proud to do its part in creating new dynamism for growth and development in the Asia Pacific Region
October 28, 2017, 12:21 pm

Vietnam is hosting the 25th APEC Summit from 6 to 11 November of this year. Leaders of 21 economies in the Pacific Rim will gather in Da Nang — a scenic coastal city in the central part of Vietnam — to discuss various development issues, ranging from economic liberalization to inclusive and sustainable economic growth. In a recent exclusive interview with The Times, the Ambassador of Vietnam to Kuwait His Excellency Trinh Minh Manh spoke at length about APEC 2017 and its significance for Vietnam.

“This is the second time that Vietnam is hosting the APEC Summit; the first was in 2006, eight years after Vietnam became an APEC member in 1998. Membership in APEC is important to Vietnam’s economic and diplomatic relations, as the grouping includes major global powers, as well as countries that are the top investors and trading partners of Vietnam. In addition, the APEC region encompasses many of the countries with which Vietnam has Free Trade Agreements (FTA),” said the ambassador.

The global economy is still struggling to recover from the financial crisis of 2008 that led to sluggish trade and economic growth, both on the regional and global level. In view of this slow growth and development, economies in the Asia-Pacific region need to create a new dynamism. It is with this notion of revitalizing the region that Vietnam proposed, ‘Creating New Dynamism, Fostering a Shared Future’ as the overarching theme for APEC 2017. The theme also emphasizes the long-term, shared goal of APEC to build a peaceful, stable, cohesive and prosperous community in the Asia-Pacific region.

The motif urges member economies to promote the boosting of trade and investment, while encouraging economic integration and structural reforms that will enable APEC economies to better confront challenges and harness opportunities presented by a rapidly changing world. In his message on Vietnam hosting APEC 2017, the country’s President Tran Dai Quang had outlined the areas on which Vietnam would focus during the regional gathering. These include, accelerating the pace of achieving the Bogor Goals on trade and investment liberalization by 2020; deepening regional integration through efforts to revitalize economic, trade and investment ties; and, increasing the resilience and inclusiveness of APEC economies.

“Energizing the Asia-Pacific region to seize the new global opportunities is critical. But, even more important is to ensure that the growth and development the region achieves is inclusive, sustainable and equitable, based on the groundwork laid down by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Accord on Climate Change,” said Ambassador Manh. “Climate Change is an issue of top concern to Vietnam, as the country will

be among the first to be affected by any harmful climate change repercussions, including rising sea levels. With more than 3,000km of coastline, and with nearly 3,000 islands under its one million square kilometer of maritime space, Vietnam has a vibrant marine economy that could be jeopardized by any rise in sea levels. “Similarly, the Mekong Delta, which is the rice basket of Vietnam, and arguably that of the world, given that Vietnam is one of the largest global exporters of rice, could be severely impacted by any rise in sea levels, and the ensuing rise in water salinity of the Mekong Delta.

“With leaders from 21 economies attending the Summit, the event is also an opportunity for Vietnam to hold both bilateral and multilateral talks on local, regional and international issues of mutual concern. And with thousands of business leaders from global companies in attendance, the APEC Summit will also provide Vietnam with an opportunity to pursue investments and business deals in various sectors of the country’s economy. In addition to all this, the event also provides Vietnam a window to raise its international status and prestige,” noted the Ambassador.

APEC allows Vietnam to further pursue its policy of internationalism, multilateralism and diversification that it has been engaged in since the start of the country’s market reforms in 1986. The aim of Vietnam during its hosting of APEC 2017 is to make the organization relevant to the changing times and promote more multilateral agreements, especially given the rising tide of protectionism around the world, and the recent decision by United States to pull out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.

Vietnam’s new policy of economic diversification emphasizes deepening and expanding trade and investment linkages with strategic partners, as well as diversification of its economic ties to avoid dependence on any single partner. In line with this, Vietnam has begun to look beyond its traditional trading borders. So far, Asia is Vietnam’s biggest export market accounting for almost half (48.3%) of its total export value followed by the Americas with 21.8 percent and the EU plus the UK accounting for a further 19.2 percent. Oceania and Africa together account for a mere 3.5 percent. Recently, Vietnam adopted a master plan to develop economic relations with the Middle East and Africa region. Also, as Vietnam is the upcoming country coordinator for ASEAN – GCC cooperation, the country will use this position to push for further strengthening of relations between these two blocs.

The ambassador concluded by saying: “In its 27 years of existence, APEC has proven to be a proactive and effective mechanism, making important contributions to regional and global growth, development and prosperity. By hosting APEC 2017, Vietnam reaffirms its commitments to the ideals of APEC, while aiming to encourage member economies to drive innovative growth in an inclusive, sustainable and equitable manner.”


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