|Top leaders and ministers of the 21 APEC members pose for a group photo at the Beijing National Aquatics Center in the Chinese capital yesterday. — AFP/VNS Photo
BEIJING (VNS) — President Truong Tan Sang told the 22nd Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) meeting of economic leaders yesterday that when negotiations on 15 free-trade deals ended by the end of 2020, Viet Nam was set to become a key link in an expansive economic network, including 18 APEC member economies..
Sang said Viet Nam fully supported measures to fulfil the Bali commitments and Bogor goals, as well as the facilitation and liberalisation of trade and investment.
To guarantee effective regional connections, the President called for stronger efforts to achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, devise a post-2015 development agenda and address global challenges.
He said APEC should intensify economic and technical co-operation while joining and supporting regional initiatives to boost interconnections, including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Greater Mekong Subregion.
Chinese President Xi Jinping said China would contribute US$10 million to capacity development projects in APEC's developing economies.
During the plenary session titled Promoting regional economic connectivity, leaders agreed that APEC was in a prime position to shape the future via the Asian-Pacific partnership.
They said it would create an open economic space that fosters innovation and inclusive growth.
Since its establishment 25 years ago, APEC has reduced tariffs from 16.9 per cent to 5.7 per cent, and increased internal trade six-fold to $9.9 trillion. Joint efforts on climate change, food and energy security, maritime issues, and green growth have also borne fruit.
Participants vowed to boost APEC's role as a forum for sustainable economic growth and prosperity, as well as an open trade and investment environment in the Asia-Pacific region.
The 21-member organisation comprises the 12 economies currently negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, namely Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Viet Nam, along with mainland China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, the Republic of Korea, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Russia, Taiwan and Thailand.
APEC represents about 40 per cent of the world's population, 57 per cent of global economic output and 48 per cent of total trade.
Viet Nam will continue working with other APEC member economies to promote innovative development and economic reform and growth, President Truong Tan Sang said at a discussion at the 22nd APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in Beijing.
In a speech on Innovative Development, Economic Reform and Growth, the President said there was a need to attach innovative development and reform to efforts to narrow development gaps, ensure social welfare and gender equality, and reduce poverty.
He said Viet Nam praised APEC's food security roadmap to 2020, saying the issue was a big challenge for people in the 21st century.
He said to ensure equality among people, attention should be paid to the close relationship between food security and water resources - and by fostering science and technology in environmentally friendly farming.
Sang said that the development of fisheries could help promote ASEAN maritime economic collaboration, disaster responses and rescue operations.
To address risks of instability in development and security in the region, he highlighted the necessity for APEC economies to increase dialogue in line with international law and regional code of conduct.
Sang said the promotion of maritime economic co-operation between member states, based on mutual interest, will deepen co-operation within APEC "in the new period."
In this, co-operation in climate change adaptation, rescue and salvage operations, fisheries, and science and technology application is of great importance, he said.
Referring to current security and stability challenges in the region, the President said: "It is important that we should continue to promote dialogue and pursue efforts in line with international law and regional code of conduct in order to maintain peace, stability, security, safety and freedom of maritime and aviation movement.
He also stressed the need to balance development with environmental and social concerns.
All APEC members should adopt an integrated, multidisciplinary approach to ensure a balance between socio-economic development and conservation of the maritime eco-system, he said.
Multilateral co-operation should also focus on sustainability, social equality and stable livelihoods for fishermen in the region, he added.
Sang reiterated Viet Nam's committment to promoting its national renewal (economic reform) process while shifting to a sustainable growth model.
"Viet Nam will continue to work with other APEC members to promote innovative development, reform and economic growth," he said.
APEC leaders said that prospects for APEC's common prosperity would depend on innovative development, economic reform and growth.
They offered support for efforts to foster economic restructuring, develop traditional industries and tap new growth potential. including green, maritime and network economies.
During a discussion on Strengthening Comprehensive Connectivity and Upgrading Infrastructure, the leaders applauded the results gained by APEC economies in strengthening connectivity and upgrading infrastructure as well as their efforts in promoting public-private partnership (PPP) on infrastructure via APEC initiatives.
At a press conference after the meeting, Chinese President Xi Jinping said that APEC leaders focused on the building of the Asia-Pacific partnership by fostering innovative development, economic reform and growth.
The conference decided to start an Asia-Pacific Free Trade Area and agreed to intensify infrastructure construction and regional connectivity for economic growth and competitiveness.
The leaders of the 21 APEC member economies issued two declarations, Beijing Agenda for an Integrated, Innovative and Interconnected Asia-Pacific and Shaping the Future through the Asia-Pacific Partnership.
Four annexes include The Beijing Roadmap for APEC's Contribution to the Realisation of the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific, APEC Strategies Blueprint for Promoting Global Value Chain Development and Cooperation, APEC Accord on Innovative Development, Economic Reform and Growth, and APEC Connectivity Blueprint for 2015-2025.
Meetings on the sidelines
Earlier, President Sang met the leaders of Chile, Peru, Brunei, Australia and Thailand separately on the margins of the 22nd APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting.
The President and his Chilean counterpart, Michele Bachelet, agreed to foster more visits at all levels to create stronger economic-trade and investment ties, especially since the Viet Nam-Chile free-trade agreement came into effect in January.
The Vietnamese leader and Peruvian President, Ollanta Humala, also agreed to tap into agriculture, fisheries, mining, science-technology, culture and education.
Sang and the Sultan of Brunei, Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, said they were satisfied with the progress of the links between the two nations, particularly in farming and foodstuffs.
When meeting Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Sang promised support for Australian investors in Viet Nam, with a focus on mining, light industry and services.
Abbot said Australia continued to see Viet Nam as one of its key partners in the Asia-Pacific.
Both sides consented to deepen the bilateral strategic partnership and work closely together at multilateral forums such as the East Asia Summit and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said he hoped to enhance all-round friendship and collaboration with Viet Nam in line with the bilateral strategic partnership. — VNS