APEC SOM Chairman urges joint efforts to shape APEC’s future hinh anh 1Deputy Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son – Chairman of APEC Senior Officials’ Meetings 2017 (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA)
– Instead of waiting, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum should take the initiative in shaping its future, according to Deputy Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son – Chairman of APEC Senior Officials’ Meetings 2017 (SOM).

He made the remark during an interview with Vietnam News Agency, noting that the future of APEC is an issue high on the agenda, as the deadline for the Bogor Goals realisation is nearing while scepticism about globalisation and free trade benefits is emerging in certain places around the world.

The Bogor Goals were set two decades ago, and there are only three years left before the deadline for their realisation. At the freshly concluded second SOM (SOM 2), APEC member economies reiterated the resolve to promote regional economic connectivity and implement the set trade and investment liberalisation targets. They also agreed to speed up the liberalisation of services and investment, and reduce nontariff barriers – the fields in which there hasn’t been substantial progress to achieve the Bogor Goals.

Son said cooperation in APEC is a long-term process with the common goal of development and prosperity in the region. At this SOM 2, member economies also discussed measures for maintaining APEC as a driving force of growth and economic connectivity in the region in the new context.

Delegates agreed to combine the realisation of the Bogor Goals with ensuring the sustainability in development and that people and businesses can contribute to and benefit from achievements in the integration and economic connectivity process. They also agreed to improve the member economies’ adaptability to and creativity in the digital era. These are the factors helping to raise the role of APEC, he noted.

The deputy minister said one of the four priorities for APEC cooperation in 2017 proposed by Vietnam, which is deepening regional economic integration, is useful for the realisation of the Bogor Goals.

To carry out this priority, Vietnam, as host of APEC 2017, suggested many initiatives to help orient APEC’s long-term cooperation in the next decades. Those initiatives included the organisation of the Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue on APEC Toward 2020 and Beyond on May 16. The event attracted much attention from APEC members and international and regional organisations, creating a consensus on the need to accelerate the realisation of the Bogor Goals and build a post-2020 vision for APEC.

Vietnam has also worked with other APEC member economies to promote many cooperation initiatives in certain spheres, including a proposal on building documents on facilitating trade and cross-border e-commerce, Son added.

The official said to shape the future of APEC, it is of critical importance to consolidate APEC’s position as the leading economic cooperation forum in the region, a pioneer in promoting integration, connectivity, and free trade and investment, bringing prosperity to businesses and people.

APEC has an advantage of being flexible and non-binding, allowing it to discuss new contents. Therefore, it can continue initiating new ideas for cooperation and connectivity in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, he said.

The deputy minister expressed his belief that APEC will keep developing in a more sustainable fashion on the basis of economic, financial and social inclusion. It will continue to have a strong role and voice to ensure that all people can participate in and benefit from attainments of trade and investment liberalisation, and that no one is left behind in globalisation.-VNA