SOM1 successfully wraps up, laying foundation for next events hinh anh 1Deputy Foreign Minister and APEC 2017 SOM Chair Bui Thanh Son speaks at the press conference (Photo: VNA)

Khanh Hoa (VNA) - The first Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Senior Officials Meeting (SOM1) and related meetings have successfully concluded with positive outcomes, laying a foundation for the next events from now to the year-end, said a high-ranking diplomat.

While chairing a press conference at the end of SOM1 on March 3 in south central Khanh Hoa’s Nha Trang city, Permanent Deputy Foreign Minister, APEC 2017 SOM Chair Bui Thanh Son said APEC member economies paid due attention to SOM1 and related meetings as they were the first official gatherings of APEC in 2017, which set out cooperation orientations for the region throughout the year.

The meetings took place at a time when the regional economy continued seeing slow growth and uncertainties, while the APEC business community and people pinned high hope on the forum’s contributions to improving the investment environment and quality of life as there are only three years away from the deadline for the Bogor Goals, Son said, adding that these meetings were an important occasion for APEC to show its resolve to step up cooperation in dealing with common issues and challenges.

According to the Deputy Minister, with the theme of “Creating new dynamism, fostering a shared future”, as many as 60 meetings, workshops and dialogues were held with the participation of almost 2,000 delegates from the 21 APEC member economies, regional and international organisations as well as scholars and entrepreneurs both in and outside the country.

As the host of APEC 2017, Vietnam proposed and gained support from the member economies for four major orientations: Continuing the implementation of APEC major, long-term cooperation orientations, particularly specific steps to achieve the Bogor Goals on trade and investment liberalisation in the region by 2020; Agreeing to set up a mechanism to discuss a post-2020 APEC Vision; Shifting APEC cooperation orientations, not only focusing on trade and investment liberalisation but also ensuring inclusion of trade and growth; APEC should be a leading mechanism in terms of cooperation and settlement of practical needs of people.

Son revealed that SOM1 and related meetings reached high consensus on the four priorities proposed by Vietnam for APEC Year 2017, namely promoting sustainable, innovative and inclusive growth; deepening regional economic integration; strengthening micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs)’ competitiveness and innovation in the digital age; enhancing food security and sustainable agriculture in response to climate change.

At the meetings, Vietnam also raised a number of major initiatives for 2017 as well as for the long term. Worthy of note is the initiative to set up a mechanism for future APEC cooperation, including the building of a post-2020 APEC Vision and the acceleration of the Bogor Goals.

The other initiatives cover a range of fields such as promoting inclusion of development in Asia-Pacific, human resources development in the digital age, steeping up the supporting industries, transnational e-commerce, sustainable tourism development in the context of climate change, and dialogues on anti-corruption and trade fraud prevention, Son elaborated.

The delegates discussed and concretised the contents of the priorities, and put forth proposals and new, practical initiatives related the concerns of people and businesses in the region.

They also reached consensus and endorsed the work plan for the whole year, including SOMs, Ministerial Meetings and the APEC Economic Leaders Week in Da Nang city in November.

In conclusion, Son said the outcomes of SOM1 indicate that cooperation, connectivity, and trade and investment liberalisation for a developed and prosperous region, remains a mainstream in Asia-Pacific. The members will continue discussing major issues at SOM2 in Hanoi in May so that the APEC cooperation could bring more practical benefits to people and businesses.-VNA