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APEC Vietnam 2017: Opportunities for Integration and Cooperation

24 October 2017

Vietnam will host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) next month under the theme: “creating new dynamism, fostering a shared future”. APEC is one of the most significant economic fora in the region.

Final preparations are under way to host APEC in the central city of Vietnam. The meetings will be attended by leaders, businessmen and journalists from 21 member economies along the Pacific Ring, whose economies account for nearly 60 percent of global GDP.

Four strategic priorities have been set for this year’s event, including promoting sustainable, innovative and inclusive growth; deepening regional economic integration; strengthening MSMEs’ competitiveness and innovation in the digital age; and enhancing food security and sustainable agriculture in response to climate change. Therefore, the event would bring about great opportunities for member economies to further realise their potentials and help to maintain regional peace, stability and prosperity.

Photo: H.E. Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc at the 23rd Minister Responsible For Trade Meeting in Hanoi Vietnam, 20-21 May 2017

This will be the second time for the Southeast Asia country to play host to APEC, which spells its increasing importance on the global arena and its consistent policy of economic integration into the most vibrant region in the world. Decades ago, Vietnamese post-war economy was ravaged by poverty with a major part of its population living under poverty line.

Fortunately, Doi Moi (renovation) policy, adopted in the sixth Congress of the Communist Party of Viet Nam, came in and salvaged the economy just in time.  Doi Moi marked a turning point in the country’s integration into the global economy which changed its economy from a centrally planned model to an open market one. Vietnam’s staunch policy of integration has performed a makeover to the economy that transformed the country from one of the poorest in the world to a lower middle-income country. Vietnam economy is fast growing.

The World Bank has recently described Vietnam now as one of the most dynamic emerging countries in East Asia region, with years of double-digit growth and now some 6 percent. The country’s economic growth has been equitable with a rapid reduction in poverty and social outcomes have improved considerably.

In the early 1990s, more than half of the population lived on less than $1.90 per day. Today the ratio of such desperate poverty has fallen sharply to only 3 percent with over 40 million people escaped poverty over the last two decades. Vietnam has also made significant advances in the provision of basic services such as electricity and water, with the population more educated and healthier than two decades ago.

The advent of globalisation has changed the world into small village, the country continues to pursue an open economic policy, under which Vietnam is willing to cooperate with all the other economies throughout the world with honest spirit and for mutual benefits. Vietnamese authorities have persistently spared no effort to establish a level playing field for local and foreign businesses on the basis of fair regulations in accordance with international law that enhance business activity.

Vietnam is an investment destination. The country’s business environment has increasingly improved as Vietnam was ranked 82 in 2016 by the World Bank for ease of doing business. Vietnam continues to show commitment to reforms in its 2011 - 2020 Socio-Economic Development Strategy (SEDS - a 10 year strategy) which highlights the need for structural reforms, environmental sustainability, social equity and emerging issues of macroeconomic stability. The SEDS set focal points in promoting skills development, particularly for modern industry and innovation, improving market institutions, and further infrastructure development.

Vietnam has a series of free trade agreements (FTAs) in place, and many others have currently been in the process of negotiating and ratifying. Investors doing business in Vietnam benefit from low tariffs and hence boost exports to top markets, such as the EU, the US, Japan and Australia - cementing Vietnam’s position as a manufacturing hub. The Vietnamese government has taken extraordinary steps to institutionalize public-private partnerships frameworks and regulations as part of its infrastructure drive.
Photo: APEC Senior Finance Official’s Meeting in Hoi An, Vietnam, 19th October, 2017

Moreover, with a huge market of over 90 million consumers, Vietnam shows abundant potentials for business ventures. In 2017, more than $23 billion was committed by foreign businesses in manufacturing and food processing, electricity production, and mineral mining industries, up to 45 percent in comparison with that of 2016. There are many other areas that are lucrative and attractive for foreign investors such as fisheries and agriculture, infrastructure construction, tourism, etc.

Opportunities together

African countries historically they have common people to people relations with Vietnam especially South Africa. South Africa and Vietnam cooperate on plenty multi-faceted fields for mutual prosperity. Therefore, the Vietnamese government has been looking forwards to support Vietnamese and African businesses in collective ventures that result in win-win benefits.

APEC 2017 will be the best occasion for Vietnam to continue to showcase its will for regional and international cooperation. As the host country, Vietnam will do its utmost to ensure the success of the event and help to promote regional and international commitments.

APEC Vietnam 2017 will be held in peaceful and picturesque coastal resorts in Da Nang city. The preparations have taken three years, with four ministerial meetings, (Senior Officials’ Meetings) and with more than 200 meetings held to date. Delegations from other 20 member economies have currently closed their advance visit and expressed their satisfaction and confidence of the host’s preparation for the APEC. This will also be an opportunity for the country to display its potentials in doing business and bring Vietnamese people, culture and natural beauty to the world.



February/March 2020











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