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State President urges APEC to continue commitment to open markets

Released at: 16:25, 16/05/2017 APEC Viet Nam 2017

State President urges APEC to continue commitment to open markets

President Tran Dai Quang speaks at the event. Photo: apec2017.vn

The key to APEC's success today is to place people and businesses at the center of development, President tells meeting.

by Nguyen Quoc

The Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue on APEC Toward 2020 and Beyond was held in Hanoi on May 16 with the attendance of State President Tran Dai Quang.

In his keynote address at the opening session, the President pointed out that more than ever, now is the time for APEC economies to send a strong message affirming their continued commitment to open markets, deepened regional economic integration, and support for a new, more advanced process of globalization, and that by developing a post-2020 vision can give shape to APEC’s values and role in the evolving regional economic and global architecture.

President Quang, who wrapped up his China visit on May 15, was quoted by the Vietnam News Agency as highlighting important economic achievements recorded by APEC during the course of its 28 years of development and 23 years of realizing the Bogor Goals of free and open trade and investment.

He cited the fact that from 2000 to 2015, APEC’s trade grew 2.5-fold, from $6.4 trillion to $16.5 trillion, while tariffs on average were slashed by half, from 11 per cent in 1996 to just 5 per cent in 2015, adding that these figures attest to the success and important role played by APEC over the past 30 years to help millions escape from poverty.

He also stressed, however, that APEC is facing new challenges posed by profound, rapid changes in the world, the fourth industrial revolution, extensive economic integration and shifts in technologies, a burgeoning middle-class, and aging demographics.

In this new context of development, he noted that APEC businesses and people, from mega corporations to millions of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, are asking questions that must be genuinely addressed: What has APEC done and what will it do for them? These questions are even more urgent as the region faces slow and uncertain recovery, inequality, and the widening wealth gaps among and within economies.

The key to APEC’s success today is to place people and businesses at the center of development, so APEC needs to promote sustainable, inclusive, and innovative growth, allowing all segments of society to participate in and enjoy the fruits of development and shared prosperity.

President Quang suggested that APEC pay particular attention to promoting education and training, developing high quality human resources and implementing proactive and positive social policies and solutions to ensure that all members of society can actively take part in and benefit from the technological revolution in the digital age.

Over the next two to three decades, APEC will need to play on its strength as a voluntary, flexible cooperation forum to truly be an incubator of ideas and innovation and an engine for growth and regional economic integration, he added.

He urged delegates attending the dialogue to clarify specific measures and areas of cooperation to accelerate the realization of the Bogor Goals by 2020, APEC’s goals and timeframe for the post-2020 period as well as its cooperation pillars, and the steps that should be taken to develop a post-2020 vision for APEC.

Meanwhile, in his welcoming remarks, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son, who is APEC 2017 SOM Chair, also said it is time for APEC to set out its goals for the next 10-15 years.

The dialogue is a platform for stakeholders to share multidimensional ideas for the building of a peaceful and prosperous APEC region, he added.

Former Canadian Ambassador Don Campbell, Co-Chair of the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC), said that in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, APEC emphasized the need for future growth to be more balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative, and secure, to be achieved through a new growth strategy - echoing and updating APEC’s founding vision.

He expressed his hope that the dialogue would be an opportunity for participants to define a forward-looking vision that can help drive sets of policies and rules to ensure that people are sufficiently empowered to benefit from the global changes.

The one-day dialogue included two plenary sessions focusing on the themes of APEC in a fast-changing world and APEC towards 2020 and beyond, and group discussions, each addressing the following questions: How can APEC speed up efforts to achieve the Bogor Goals? What is the timeframe for the new vision? What are the goals and pillars of cooperation and the role of APEC in the post-2020 era? How can stakeholders contribute to developing a post-2020 vision for APEC? What are the next steps to shape a post-2020 vision for APEC?

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