Bùi Thanh Sơn. — Photo baodautu.vn
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Bùi Thanh Sơn tells the Thời báo Kinh tế Việt Nam (Vietnam Economic Times) newspaper that the country is ready for the upcoming APEC Economic Leaders’ Week.
Where do Việt Nam’s preparations for APEC stand?
Having determined that hosting APEC 2017 will be a major focus of Việt Nam’s external affairs activities, preparation for the event in general and the APEC Economic Leaders’ Week, in particular, began very early and carefully, with the establishment of an interdisciplinary working group in 2014 and the National Committee of APEC 2017 in 2015.
The sub-committees have carried out preparatory work in all fields, bearing in mind the motto set by President Trần Đại Quang: “careful, respectful, thoughtful, efficient, economical, and safe.”
All ministries, sectors, agencies, provinces and cities involved have been working with the highest sense of responsibility to fulfill assigned tasks. Until now, six senior officials’ meetings and six ministerial-level activities have been held and received high appreciation from the international community for both the organisational work and its content.
Việt Nam has also received good support from member economies for its theme, “Creating new dynamism, fostering a shared future” as well as the priorities identified for APEC 2017. In meetings held so far, Việt Nam as the host country, has attempted to harmonise interests, seek common ground to bridge differences, and promote co-operation among APEC members. The results attained in the meetings on topics like inclusive economic growth, finance and society, human resource development in the digital era, and development of small- and medium-sized enterprises have laid the foundation for discussion by ministers and leaders of APEC economies in the upcoming APEC Economic Leaders’ Week.
All preparatory work in terms of facilities, logistics, administration, security, health, information, and volunteers in Đà Nẵng, the host city, has been proactively carried out by the sub-committees and the city, with support from local businesses. I can affirm that the entire political apparatus and people have joined hands in organising; and Việt Nam is ready to welcome leaders of 21 APEC economies and more than 10,000 delegates.
How many leaders have confirmed their attendance for the APEC Economic Leaders’ Week?
Most of them have confirmed. Some who have not done so because of domestic issues. Việt Nam is closely co-ordinating with other APEC members to ensure respectful and considerate reception of the APEC leaders.
What have been the biggest difficulties in preparing for the summit week?
The challenges arise from rapid and complicated developments in international and regional situations. Although the global economy is experiencing more steady recovery, many risks remain. The APEC region is forecast to have higher economic growth rate than the global rate, but it is yet to achieve pre-crisis levels.
Global economic connectivity is slowing down and protectionism is increasing. Rising concerns over the impact of globalisation and trade elsewhere in the world calls for increased co-operation within APEC to ensure sustainability and inclusive growth and global economic linkages.
Climate change, aging population, and low labour productivity also constitute a resistance force against regional and global growth.
Adding to all this is the pressure of making thorough preparations so that it becomes a hallmark event for Việt Nam in the eyes of international friends. This has to be done efficiently and economically, given our limited resources.
As the host country, what does Việt Nam expect from other members for the APEC Economic Leaders’ Week?
As a forum representing 39 per cent of the world population, contributing 57 per cent of global GDP and 49 per cent of global trade, APEC has a very important role in global economic development as well as in the strength and prosperity of each member. The consistent message that Việt Nam wants to deliver, together with other members, at the APEC Economic Leaders’ Week is: “Creating new dynamism, fostering a shared future”. This is the theme of APEC Year 2017, reflecting the common interest of APEC economies.
With all the programmes and initiatives implemented since the beginning of this year, APEC hopes to present itself as the top regional mechanism for economic cooperation, meeting the practical interests of people and the business community in the region. Việt Nam hopes other APEC members will share the same vision and join hands in building a peaceful, active, self-sustaining, inclusive and comprehensively connected Asia-Pacific, creating equal opportunities for people to participate in growth. — VNS