On 15 November 2020, following eight years of negotiations, fifteen Asia-Pacific countries concluded the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) in a virtual signing ceremony held during the 37th ASEAN Summit hosted in Hà Nội, Việt Nam. — VNA/VNS Photo
HÀ NỘI — International economic integration was a bright spot in Việt Nam’s external affairs activities in 2020, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Bùi Thanh Sơn said during a recent interview with local media.
The official noted that the global economy and international economic links were developing in a complex fashion and were accompanied by multiple risks.
The COVID-19 pandemic had posed new challenges, he added, but also deepened the trend towards establishing links and sped up other new trends, leading to changes in economic and commercial management globally and spurring rapid digitalisation.
Việt Nam’s activeness in international economic links had made it easier for the country to diversify its markets and partners, attract resources for development, and complete the target of rapid, sustainable recovery from the pandemic.
Notably, the Chairmanship of ASEAN and the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly in 2020, as well as being a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council during 2020-21, had helped Việt Nam raise its voice within multilateral frameworks.
However, unexpected changes to the global and regional economy had hurt efforts to fight COVID-19 and promote socio-economic development, international economic integration and economic ties between Việt Nam and a number of partners, Sơn said.
Việt Nam overcame various challenges to record significant achievements in development and foreign affairs in 2020.
International economic integration had made strides forward and become a bright spot in the country’s external affairs, with Việt Nam one of the countries taking the lead of the region in promoting international economic links and using external resources to serve national development.
As ASEAN Chair in 2020, it worked with other ASEAN members and partners to sign the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) at the 37th ASEAN Summit in Hà Nội last November.
With this achievement, ASEAN’s centrality and Việt Nam’s ASEAN Chairmanship were both bolstered, he emphasised.
Việt Nam worked to promote major initiatives on COVID-19 response within the 10-member bloc, which had been acknowledged by the international community, Sơn said.
It set up a network of 17 free trade agreements (FTAs) and frameworks for economic and commercial co-operation with the world’s leading economic centres.
This had created momentum for Việt Nam to reach its growth targets and conduct further comprehensive reform.
With its significant achievements and enhanced position and prestige in the international arena, Việt Nam would join international economic links with a new profile, Sơn noted.
According to the Sơn, Việt Nam will give top priority to the implementation of commitments in FTAs and other economic co-operation mechanisms.
It will continue to expand its network of economic links and integration, both bilaterally and multilaterally, becoming a centre of economic integration at the global level.
This is in line with the country’s foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, peace, friendship, co-operation, and development, and the diversification and multilateralisation of Party and State relations.
Moving forward, under the leadership of the Party and the State, the diplomatic sector will continue its pioneering role in creating a peaceful and optimal environment, helping elevate the country’s profile.
Economic diplomacy would remain a crucial task for the country, he said, adding that the foreign ministry and Vietnamese representative offices abroad would optimise resources as well as the country’s role and position to contribute to completing the development policies, guidelines, and targets from now to 2045 to be put forth by the upcoming 13th National Party Congress. VNS