President Tran Dai Quang speaks at the Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue on APEC Toward 2020 and Beyond (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – 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 globalisation, and by developing a post-2020 vision can give shape to APEC’s values and role in the evolving regional economic and global architecture, said President Tran Dai Quang.

In his keynote address at the opening session of the Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue on APEC Toward 2020 and Beyond in Hanoi on May 16, President Quang said, over the course of 28 years of development and 23 years of realisation of the Bogor Goals of free and open trade and investment, APEC has recorded numerous important economic achievements.

He cited the fact that from 2000 to 2015, APEC’s trade grew by 2.5 folds, from 6.4 trillion USD to 16.5 trillion USD, while tariff on average has been slashed by half, from 11 percent in 1996 to just 5 percent in 2015, saying these are animated statistics that attest to the success and important role played by APEC over the past 30 years to help millions out of poverty.

However, the President also stressed 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, burgeoning middle-class and aging demographics.

In this new context of development, he noted 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 centre of development, hence 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 should pay particular attention to promoting education and training, developing high quality human resources and implement 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, innovation and engine for growth and regional economic integration, the State leader added.

President Quang urged delegates attending the dialogue to clarify specific measures and areas of cooperation to accelerate the realisation of the Bogor Goals by 2020; APEC’s goals and timeframe for the post-2020 period as well as its cooperation pillars; and 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 that 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 to contributing to the building of a peaceful and prosperous APEC region, he added.

Ambassador Don Campbell, Co-Chair of the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC), said in the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis, APEC emphasised 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 the participants to define a forward-looking vision that can help to drive sets of policies and rules to ensure that people are sufficiently empowered to benefit from the global changes.

The one-day dialogue includes two plenary sessions focusing on the themes of APEC in a fast changing world and APEC toward 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 time frame for the new vision? What are the goals, pillars of cooperation and role of APEC in the post-2020 era? How can stakeholders contribute to developing a post-2020 Vision for APEC? and What are the next steps to shape a post-2020 Vision for APEC?-VNA