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Last updated: Thursday, March 23, 2017

 

APEC 2017: Towards Sustainable Asia-Pacific

Posted: Monday, January 23, 2017


Officially founded in November 1989 with 12 original members, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) now has 21 member economies. APEC currently has 2.8 billion people, US$43 trillion of GDP and US$20 trillion of trade value, accounting for 39 per cent of global population, 57 per cent of global GDP and 49 per cent of global trade.

After 27 years of construction and development, APEC has proven its strong growth. For those 27 years, APEC has made outstanding achievements. Specifically, the birth of APEC fulfilled the demand for dialogue and cooperation among its members and regions after the Cold War ended. APEC promoted trade and investment liberalisation trends in the region and in the world (in only two decades (1989-2012), the average APEC tariff reduced from 17 per cent to 5.6 per cent; intra-regional trade expanded 6.7 times - compared with an increase of 5.5 times of the world. In 2000 - 2015, APEC trade value rose 2.5 times from US$6.4 trillion to US$16.5 trillion). APEC was one of pioneering mechanisms that advanced sustainable growth and new-generation trade and investment. APEC pioneered in formulating major trade agreements as TPP, RCEP, the ASEAN Community and FTAAP. ECOTECH cooperation in APEC helped developing economies to enhance economic reforms and regional integration, thus narrowing the development gap among member economies.

Vietnam - Dynamic production and trade base and market in the region
For Vietnam, APEC has importantly supported the country’s efforts to multilateralise and diversify its international relations, deepen bilateral relations, and raise its position on international forums. Besides, APEC has helped improve the country’s internal resources: APEC accounted for 75 per cent of trade, 78 per cent of FDI, 38 per cent of ODA, and 79 per cent of foreign tourists to Vietnam. Seven APEC member economies are top 10 export markets of Vietnam. APEC has opened up opportunities for Vietnam to have better access to science and technology, advanced management skills, capacity building, policy consistency and international integration.

In 2016, with economic development and international integration policies, Vietnam's economy continued to achieve optimistic results. The country’s industrial production continued to expand, with an industrial production index growth of 7.5 per cent, mainly driven by the growth of manufacturing and processing industries. Local industries in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Quang Ninh and other localities also grew. Industrial production expanded continuously. Industrial production restructuring more clearly shifted towards processing and manufacturing industries. Besides, the business structure was positively changed. The non-State sector and the FDI sector grew rapidly. The rise of new industrial enterprises also generated more new jobs.

Regarding foreign trade, Vietnam’s import and export turnover was estimated at nearly US$350 billion in 2016, with key traditional export markets being Asia, Europe and America. Trade with the Americas recorded the highest growth of 13.2 per cent. Import markets were diversified to reduce reliance on imports from Asia and increase purchases from Europe.

Domestic trade, driven by retail and service revenue, was estimated at VND3,530 trillion in 2016, up 10.2 per cent from a year earlier. E-commerce played an increasingly important role in retail trade. B2C Sales e-commerce retail revenue reached US$5 billion in 2016. Consumer price index (CPI) climbed 2.66 per cent over 2015, lower than the target of below 5 per cent set by the National Assembly.

Enhancing regional cooperation, elevating Vietnam’s position
2016 was a transitional year and a banner year to prepare for APEC 2017 events in Vietnam, themed “Creating New Dynamism, Fostering a Shared Future” and priority activities such as promoting sustainable, creative and inclusive growth; promoting extensive and intensive regional economic connectivity; enhancing competitiveness and creativity of micro, small and medium enterprises in the digital era; and enhancing food security and sustainable agriculture, adapting to climate change.

APEC 2017 will raise Vietnam’s position with the hosting of APEC events aimed for more substantive and efficient Asia-Pacific cooperation, with the key being the achievement of the Bogor Goals on free trade and investment by 2020. In addition, the Vietnamese business community will have better conditions to establish business relations with leading global partners. Moreover, this event will provide an opportunity of development and exchange for regions, localities, enterprises and citizens to ensure the success of international economic integration policies of Vietnam.

APEC 2017 will have nearly 200 related events throughout 2017, with the most important week being the Summit Week to be attended by leaders of 21 APEC member economies in November in Da Nang City. Eight ministerial level events, in addition to hundreds of working meetings and activities, will be organised in 10 provinces and cities of Vietnam, namely Hanoi, Nha Trang, Vinh, Ninh Binh, Ha Long, Hue, Can Tho, Ho Chi Minh City, Hoi An and Da Nang. Tens of thousands of international delegates will arrive in Vietnam to attend APEC 2017 events, and thousands of reporters from international news and media agencies will be covering these events.

This is an opportunity for localities to introduce their beauty to international and regional friends and facilitate the business community to expand business, seek new partners and customers, and introduce their products to APEC partners.

VCCI’s activities during the APEC year
In 2017, the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), as the representative of the Vietnamese business community in APEC, will organise a number of major events such as the 4th APEC Business Advisory Council Meeting; Business Forum with the aim of promoting investment into Vietnam in the TPP context, expected to draw the participation of approximately 800 attendants; APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting with heads of State, leading CEOs, and economists (expected to serve 1,000 attendants); ABAC Dialogue; APEC Summit with recommendations for better business environment in the region; ABAC and SOM Dialogue; ABAC/Business Dialogue with Trade Ministers, SME Ministers, Finance Ministers with focus on ABAC priorities in 2017, that is to say, ABAC Vietnam in 2017, strengthening APEC connectivity in three aspects: hard connectivity, institutional connectivity, human connectivity, innovation, creativity, corporate competitiveness and corporate social responsibility, and response to global issues.

Moreover, in 2017, VCCI will host APEC Start-up Forum on the sidelines of SME Ministerial Meeting with the aim of inspiring entrepreneurship in APEC, business start-up and business ethics. About 300 Vietnamese and APEC delegates are expected to gather in this event.

With Vietnam’s robust economic performance in 2016 and close direction of the Government, activities of enterprises and civil society organisations will contribute practically to APEC 2017 events in Vietnam. Certainly with the hosting of APEC 2017, Vietnam will contribute effectively to the sustainable development of the Asia-Pacific region.

Doan Duy Khuong (Ph.D)
VCCI Vice President








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