Vietnam’s policies are helping to foster multi-level economic connectivity in the Asia-Pacific as well as the building of an ASEAN Community and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh made the affirmation while opening the conference “APEC in the 21st century Asia-Pacific” in Hanoi on November 15.

This is the most important meeting of the forum hosted by Vietnam this year, which coincides with the country’s 15th year of APEC membership.

Former Deputy Prime Minister Vu Khoan, former Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and Chief Economist of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific Nagesh Kumar were among others to attend the event, jointly organised by the Foreign Ministry and the UNDP Vietnam.

In his speech, Minh also stressed that the conference took place at an important time of APEC as well as the region.

After the global financial crisis, the economic-political panorama in Asia-Pacific and the world as a whole has changed dramatically, Minh said.

APEC has the opportunity to strengthen its potential and position, the official said, adding that challenges still remain, especially those in the implementation of the Bogor Goals – long-term economic strategies first agreed in 1994 - the reform process and contributions to regional and international issues.

APEC members are sharing interests and responsibilities in supporting member economies to recover, maintaining the region’s key position in the global economy as well as peace, stability, cooperation and prosperity in the region, he affirmed.

At the conference, APEC members spoke highly of Vietnam’s positive, active and effective contribution to APEC over the past 15 years.

They highlighted the outstanding outcomes of the 14th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Hanoi in 2006, especially the identification of the long term likelihood of an Asia-Pacific free trade area, the Hanoi Action Plan to implement the Bogor Goals and general renovation measures in order to create new driving forces for APEC cooperation.

Vietnam in its capacity as Chairman or Vice Chairman of APEC working groups has contributed positively to promoting cooperation in the forum, they said.

The country is also considered an active member with over 70 initiatives in boosting trade liberalisation, SME development, human resources development, health, emergency response, search and rescue, anti-terrorism and aviation safety, according to the delegates.

The conference also proposed how to strengthen Vietnam ’s participation and contribution to APEC while intensifying comprehensive international integration.

APEC member states pledged to collaborate with Vietnam to successfully organise the 6th APEC Ministerial Meeting on human resources development next year.

Deputy PM and FM Pham Binh Minh also hosted a banquet in honour of the delegates on the occasion of Vietnam’s 15-year membership of APEC.

Within the framework of the conference, Foreign Ministry leaders received Tan Jian, Head of China’s APEC Senior Official Meeting, to exchange views on collaboration in organising APEC Year 2014 in China .

Representatives of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Industry and Trade, and Planning and Investment worked with Dr Aland Bollard, Executive Director of APEC Secretariat, to discuss the preparations for the APEC year and the 25 th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Vietnam in 2017.-VNA