|Permanent Deputy Foreign Minister, APEC 2017 SOM Chair Bui Thanh Son
In an exclusive interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency (VNA), Permanent Deputy Foreign Minister, APEC 2017 SOM Chair Bui Thanh Son said as many as 60 events of APEC committees, working groups and sub-committees were held within the framework of SOM1 and related meetings, covering a range of fields such as trade and investment, business facilitation, services, tourism, food security, seas and oceans, response to climate change, standards and conformance, healthcare, life science and innovation and anti-corruption.
In the context that the regional and world situation has witnessed profound changes; the world economy and global trade have seen slower-than-expected growth; and populism and protectionism have posed challenges to the globalisation results, the outcomes of SOM1 are crucial to APEC cooperation orientations throughout the year and contribute to the deployment of the APEC 2017 theme of “Creating new dynamism, fostering a shared future”, promoting trade and investment liberalisation, strengthening regional economic connectivity and generating a new momentum for the growth in Asia – Pacific and each regional economy, Son elaborated.
Regarding Vietnam’s proposed priorities for APEC 2017, Son said the APEC members supported and reached high consensus on the four priorities, namely promoting sustainable, innovative and inclusive growth; deepening regional economic integration; strengthening micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs)’ competitiveness and innovation in the digital age; and enhancing food security and sustainable agriculture in response to climate change.
At the meetings, workshops and dialogues, delegates enthusiastically discussed and proposed initiatives as well as practical and specific measures to implement the AEPC 2017 priorities. These initiatives and measures will be submitted to SOM1 for consideration and approval.
According to the Deputy Minister, APEC members also proposed projects and programmes on enhancing capacity to create favourable conditions for the members, especially developing economies, participate in and take full advantage of APEC cooperation opportunities.
In the freshly-ended meetings, Vietnam’s delegation comprising of officials from relevant ministries, sectors and agencies, actively joined in and made practical contributions to regional issues of common concern such as promoting regional economic connectivity, creating optimal conditions for micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to expand business, investment and participate in the global value chains, and developing human resources.
The Vietnamese delegates deliberated practical issues closely connected to the lives of people and localities, including disease prevention and control, food hygiene and safety, at the Health Working Group (HWG) Meeting. They also shared experience and measures in response to natural disasters at the Emergency Preparedness Working Group (EPWG) Meeting.
Leaders, officials, businesspeople and people of Khanh Hoa province have actively joined in preparing for the meetings and taken this occasion to promote economic, investment and tourism potentials of Nha Trang city, Khanh Hoa province and the south central region as well.
In regard to Vietnam’s preparations, Son said the hosting of the APEC Year 2017 is the focus in the country’s foreign policy from now to 2020. Based on Vietnam’s improved position and strength after 30 years of reform and international integration and its experience in organising international events, since late 2014, ministries, sectors and localities, especially the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, have actively made preparations with the hope of ensuring the success of the APEC Year 2017 in all aspects.
Vietnam has coordinated closely with international organisations and research institutes to timely grasp the region and world’s common trends and issues of interest. The country has also conducted consultations with other APEC members to ensure that the outcomes of the APEC Year 2017 will benefit people and businesses in all APEC economies.
Vietnam has accumulated experience in hosting events of APEC committees and working groups by attending APEC activities in 2015 and 2016. The hosting of the APEC Year 2017 has offered a valuable chance for staff in charge of multilateral cooperation to improve their qualifications to serve the country’s international integration in the new period.
The successful hosting of SOM1 and related meetings will lay a firm foundation for the implementation of following activities within the framework of the APEC Year 2017 and at the same time, leave a good impression on international delegates and friends about Nha Trang city and a beautiful, hospitable, dynamic Vietnam – an attractive destination for foreign investors and tourists, Son concluded.