Last updated: Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Vietnam Preparing to Host APEC 2017Posted: Friday, February 03, 2017
From January 1, 2017, Vietnam has officially assumed the chairmanship of APEC activities for the whole year of 2017. After nearly two decades as a member of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Vietnam for the second time assumes the chairmanship and the chance to strengthen the relations with regional partners, contributing to the common interests of the Asia-Pacific and heightening its role in the international arena.
Three years ago, at the 21st APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in Bali, Indonesia (November 5-7, 2013), APEC membersunanimously supported Vietnam to host APEC 2017. Vietnam is among the few countries entrusted to play host twice in over a decade, showing Vietnam's credibility in the international community. This “willing” responsibility of Vietnam is also an important step in its strategy of comprehensive international integration with Asia-Pacific as a priority.
Second sponsorship of APEC Year – Challenge and opportunity
In the context of deep and unexpected developments in the region and world, APEC cooperation in 2017 and the following years is expected to face many new challenges. Consequently, APEC members expect Vietnam to make specific contributions to developing further cooperation between APEC members in all three pillars of trade and investment liberation, trade favourisation and economic-technology cooperation.
In the new situation, the biggest challenge to APEC members in general and Vietnam in particular is how to maintain the role of the forumas the leading mechanism for regional economic cooperation and linkage, contributing to growth and prosperity in Asia-Pacific, as initially enshrined by members when the forum was established in 1989.
It is also the challenge to joint efforts on trade and investment liberation and favourisation in the region, including the fulfillment of Bogor goals by 2020 in line with the road map designed, at a time of trade protectionism and inward-looking in some economies.
Another challenge is greater contribution by the forum to solve the global issues on jobs, gap narrowing, climate change, terrorism, food security, population aging and migration. Contributing to these issues is a part of APEC contribution to the implementation of common goals of mankind for sustainable development and climate changes, as well as other challenges now facing the world.
Nonetheless, it also opens new opportunities for the forum and its members.
The more peace and development in the region and the world are challenged, the more the need to increase cooperation and linkage between regions and countries in Asia-Pacific. It is a great opportunity for APEC members to increase and deepen their cooperation.
In fact, the potential for APEC cooperation has never been so large as at present. For three decades of development, the number of committees and working groups has increased almost three times to almost 50 covering several areas, not only economic, trade but also new generation of economic-trade, sustainable development, gap-narrowing, food security and energy safety.
Meanwhile global economic growth and trade are at a standstill as anti-globalisation is emerging in certain regions; the Asia-Pacific continues as a world-leading dynamic development region and motivator of global growth and linkage, with several APEC members playing the main role.
Operating on the principles of mutual benefit, consensus, willingness and non-binding agreement, APEC is pioneering the globalisation of trade liberalisation and investment. It is the global linkage favouring supply-demand chains, assisting SMEs in competitiveness and participation in value chains, global demand-supply, digital economy and online economy. The trade favourisation in the region has also recorded a positive outcome. In four years, 2010-2014, trade costs in APEC reduced by 12 per cent. Several APEC economies continue as leaders of international economic linkages.
For Vietnam, it is most advantageous as being the host country in APEC 2006 and responsible in several multi-lateral activities of international integration. The inner strength has been upgraded after 30 years of renovation. Vietnamese diplomacy has been developed with independence, self-reliance, as well as mutual trust and appreciation by other countries. Nevertheless, challenges remain in how to make real contribution to APEC, worthy of the potential and position of Vietnam.
2016 - the last phase of preparation
APEC 2017 is the largest diplomatic activity of Vietnam to 2020. Fully aware of the responsibility and volume of work for the host country, Vietnam has started the preparation three years in advance. In 2014 and 2015, Vietnam exchanged experiences with former host countries to prepare in detail on substance, logistical support, protocol, press activities. The National Committee for APEC 2017 has been established since July 2015 under the guidance of Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh and cooperation of 24 ministries, agencies and cities/provinces. Five sub-committees have also been established to take care of the contents, material support, security, health, press activities and protocol ensuring smooth proceedings of APEC 2017.
Learning experiences from other countries and Vietnamese multilateral diplomacy, we have completed the preparation for the contents, organisation works, sites for the Summit Week and main events in 2017, proposing main themes and priorities, training staff to ensure effective proceeding of the APEC Year.
2016 is truly the key year for the successful preparation of APEC 2017 as Vietnam must complete all works from contents to activities. We have ensured the achievement of Vietnamese initiatives and concerns of the region, in line with the general trend of global cooperation, interests of developing economies, including Vietnam and ASEAN members.
Due to good preparation and early support of APEC members and international organisations, the main theme and priorities proposed by Vietnam were approved by APEC senior officials in Hanoi in early December 2016.
All preparation works are under full swing. Concerned authorities in Da Nang City and others are doing their utmost to ensure successful APEC Year. The official website of APEC Year 2017 started in November 2016 to provide necessary information on APEC and APEC Year 2017, assisting international delegates and reporters to register and participate in APEC activities. APEC 2017 symbol and signs have been completed together with short films and publications introducing the Vietnamese land and people as well as potential for investments, businesses and tourism. Preparation for ceremonies and training of supporting staff are under full swing.
With the preparation well underway and in line with the road map, Vietnam is ready to assume its role as host country of APEC Year 2017.
Performance by concerned authorities – key to success
In almost 20 years of APEC membership, Vietnam has fully committed itself as an active member contributing effectively to APEC cooperation. Among others, Vietnam has organised successfully APEC 2006, assumed the role as Executive Director of APEC Secretariat 2005-2006, sponsored the 6th APEC Human Resources Development Ministerial Meeting in 2014, over 100 APEC projects in the past 10 years, as well as coordinating several APEC working groups with high appreciation from international and regional friends.
The success of international integration and APEC participation in the past 20 years shows that Vietnam has not only succeeded in the leadership, but more importantly in the true engagement and participation of the authorities, people and businesses throughout the country.
Therefore to make APEC Year 2017 a breakthrough in the deep and large-scale international integration endorsed by XII Party Congress on ”Upgrading quality and efficiency of multilateral diplomacy”, there must be increased participation of all the authorities, people and businesses concerned.
Therefore, there must be new thinking, new participation in mechanisms, and multilateral diplomacy, including the APEC forum. New thinking and methods must be in line with “initiative and contribution to form mechanisms and ground rules in regional and global scales.
From now to the end of 2018, Vietnam should chair and coordinate 20 among over 50 APEC committees and working groups. Therefore, concerned authorities should prepare staff with required standard in expertise and foreign language to contribute to APEC cooperation and orientation.
In 2017 is also the chance for Vietnamese authorities and businesses to develop linkage and tourism, as well as introducing potentials for cooperation with leading partners in the region and the world. To make the best use of the opportunity, they must make a good preparation, finding the demands of partners and markets and introducing local partners so as to increase international integration and develop Vietnamese participation.
Also in 2017, Vietnamese businesses will have ample occasions to contribute their initiatives to APEC cooperation in the interest of Vietnamese people and businesses. Their participation is especially important in APEC CEO Summit, APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), and Dialogue with APEC Economic Leaders and ABAC members.
With the guidance of high-level leaders, active participation of concerned ministries, agencies, businesses and local authorities, we are confident that APEC Vietnam 2017 will be successful.
Bui Thanh Son
Standing Deputy Foreign Minister; Deputy Chairman, APEC 2017 National Committee; Chairman, SOM APEC 2017