|President Truong Tan Sang meets with his Indonesian counterpart Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Bali, Indonesia yesterday. — VNA/VNS Photo Nguyen Khang
JAKARTA (VNS)— The 21st Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit opened on the Indonesian resort island of Bali yesterday.
The event, held in Indonesia for the second time – it took place on Bogor in 1994 - is the host's key foreign policy activity this year.
Addressing the opening ceremony, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono highlighted the significance of the summit, which is themed "Resilient Asia-Pacific: Engine for Global Growth." He asserted that the 21-member APEC's efforts in the implementation of the Bogor goals on trade and investment liberalisation over the last 19 years have helped the forum become a driving force for its members' dynamism and prosperity.
Amid globally unsustainable growth and plummeting trade, the forum is a venue for Asian-Pacific leaders to talk about solutions for regional economic connectivity as well as the forum's contributions to regional and global growth.
Following the ceremony, the leaders had the first working session on APEC's role in enhancing the multilateral trade system given the current global economy.
The 21 heads reached a statement affirming APEC's political determination and strong support for pushing up the World Trade Organisation Ministers' Meeting to approve a new agreement (Bali package) on development issues, agriculture and trade facilitation.
They also agreed to fulfill the Bogor goals by 2020 in efforts to form a resilient, cohesive, fair and sustainable Asia-Pacific.
As one of the leaders invited to deliver an introductory speech at this first session, Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang underlined APEC's urgent task of pushing for a concrete agreement to be reached at the World Trade Organisation Ministers' Meeting in December to create a breakthrough for the Doha talks and a driving force for the global economy's growth to rebound and develop steadily.
He asserted Viet Nam's support of flexible efforts for a balanced Bali package, in which development priorities needs to go to developing and under-developing countries.
The Vietnamese President also called for APEC to be more radical in carrying out the Bogor goals and beefing up co-operation as the face of the global economy and trade rapidly changes.
APEC also needs to dole out strong support for the reform of economic governance and global trade towards equality, democracy and efficiency, promoting the role of both developing and emerging economies, Sang said.
He affirmed that Viet Nam is willing to work with other APEC member economies to strongly implement regional financial connectivity and consolidate the multilateral trade system.
At the session, Sang officially announced that Viet Nam will host the 25th APEC Summit in 2017, which received strong support from all APEC member economies and will be put on this year's summit declaration.
This will be the second time Viet Nam has been credited to host an APEC summit. The 14th APEC summit took place in Ha Noi in November 2006.
Earlier on in the day, within the framework of the summit, President Sang and other APEC leaders attended a dialogue with the APEC Business Advisory Council, which gathered executives of leading groups in the region and the world, to discuss how to facilitate trade, investment, financial markets, and small and medium-sized enterprises, along with increasing the supply chain efficiency, food security and energy.
Meeting of minds
On the sidelines of APEC, President Sang also held meetings with several leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) member countries in Bali, Indonesia.
President Sang told Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono he highly valued Indonesia's role as the 2013 APEC Chair and its successful organisation of important forum events this year.
During the meeting, the two Presidents witnessed the signing of a 2014-18 action programme on the implementation of the Viet Nam-Indonesia Strategic Partnership.
The action programme includes major orientations in such fields as politics, security, economic development, sea-related issues, and co-operation at regional and international forums.
At a meeting with the Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, Sang congratulated Brunei on its successes as ASEAN Chair, saying it had contributed to strengthening solidarity and co-operation within ASEAN, and between the bloc and its partners.
The two sides emphasised the need to ensure the serious implementation of the ASEAN Declaration on Six-Point Principles and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC).
This included working towards the early conclusion of a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) between ASEAN and China.
Speaking at a discussion with leaders of nearly 20 groups and companies representing the US Business Coalition at APEC, Sang spoke highly of the US business community's operations in Viet Nam.
He said Viet Nam was implementing measures to boost the partnership between the two nations, especially in economics, trade and investment.
Representatives of the US business community said they appreciated Viet Nam's economic restructuring, adding that this helped US businesses expand their operations in the country.
They expressed belief in the prospects of the Vietnamese economy, especially its role in speeding up TPP negotiations.
Sang applauded the US Department of Commerce's recent decision to remove anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties on frozen, warm-water shrimps.
He said he hoped that US businesses would hurry their government to remove trade barriers on Vietnamese goods in line with the spirit of the Comprehensive Partnership and TPP negotiations. — VNS