|President Truong Tan Sang (first right) poses for a photo with other Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) leaders prior to a meeting on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Manila. — AFP/VNA Photo
MANILA, PHILIPPINES (VNS) — Leaders of the 12 nations involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreed to make strong efforts to promote the signing, ratification and implementation of the agreement, Vietnam News Agency reported yesterday.
The leaders made the affirmation at a meeting in Manila, Philippines yesterday, on the sidelines of the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation) summit.
The meeting, hosted by US President Barack Obama, was the first time the leaders have been in one room since the agreement was concluded in Atlanta last month, following five years of tough negotiations.
At the meeting, Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang said that concluding the TPP and the establishment of the ASEAN Community was a significant milestone, which created a new motivation for growth, regional co-operation and made contribution to promote peace, co-operation, and sustainable and inclusive growth in the APEC community and Asia-Pacific region.
"Implementation of the TPP will bring challenges to members, especially to developing countries," Sang told the meeting.
Sang asked all members to closely collaborate to ensure the signing, ratifying and implementing of the agreement on schedule.
The Vietnamese president also requested the members to further strengthen co-operation on the basis of mutual respect as well as offer technical support to ensure the people of developing countries benefit from the TPP.
The details were still to be confirmed, but it would involve the trade ministers from the 12 TPP countries.
The leaders believed that the agreement with opportunities of broadened free trade and inclusive investment would help promote and extend regional mutual co-operation among members as well as improve the competitiveness of the region and create more jobs.
The discussion amongst leaders at yesterday's meeting was focused on what steps need to be taken to bring the TPP into effect as quickly as possible.
The leaders also talked about the process for allowing other countries to join the TPP.
The TPP member countries are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Maxico, News Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Viet Nam.
The TPP countries account for almost 40 per cent of the world's GDP and a third of global trade.
President Sang continued his hectic schedule in Manila, the Philippines yesterday as part of the 23rd APEC summit week.
He joined other leaders of the 21 APEC member economies at the official welcoming ceremony hosted by Philippine President Benigno Aquino III in the afternoon.
Later, the APEC leaders had a dialogue with members of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC).
President Truong Tan Sang, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla and US Trade Representative Michael Froman co-chaired a dialogue group that gathered ABAC member businesses.
They discussed measures enhancing public-private partnership to promote facilitation of trade, investment, sustainable and inclusive growth and services development.
The Vietnamese President affirmed that Viet Nam has continually attached importance to the successful realisation of the Bogor Goals on trade and investment liberisation. He also underlined Viet Nam's concerted efforts to ensure equal growth for all people, especially disadvantaged and vulnerable groups and small- and medium-sized enterprises.
Also in the afternoon, President Sang attended the first ever informal dialogue between the APEC leaders with the Pacific Alliance, which gathers four Latin American economies (Peru, Mexico, Chile and Colombia).
Addressing the dialogue, an initiative of the Philippines, President Truong Tan Sang voiced his advocacy of increased coordination between APEC and the Pacific Alliance, adding that Viet Nam is willing to join hands with other APEC members in boosting cooperation and effective coordination with other multilateral mechanisms, including the Alliance and the ASEAN Community. He proposed several specific fields that the two sides should consider for their partnership.
The same day, the President held bilateral meetings with the President of Peru, the Prime Minister of Malaysia and the Chief Executive of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
President Sang and his Peruvian counterpart Ollanta Humala expressed delight at the progress in the countries' friendship and cooperation.
The Vietnamese leader said both countries should put the inter-governmental committee on economic and technical cooperation into operation as soon as possible and conduct negotiations on a framework agreement on trade and investment.
The two sides agreed to share experience in order to effectively carry out commitments in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement once the deal takes effect.
They vowed mutual support and close coordination to successfully organise APEC events which will be held in Peru in 2016 and in Viet Nam the following year.
Meeting with Malaysian PM Najib Razak, President Sang hailed the year 2015 as a milestone in the countries' relations with the establishment of the bilateral strategic partnership.
The two leaders concurred in cementing all aspects of the strategic partnership and holding the fifth meeting of the joint committee on economic, scientific and technical cooperation at an early date. They also agreed to accelerate the completion of domestic procedures in order to sign and approve the TPP soon, and to promote experience exchanges to improve the TPP implementation capacity.
The Vietnamese State leader highly valued the contributions made by Malaysia, which holds the ASEAN Chair in 2015, to ASEAN's solidified solidarity and central role in regional issues.
PM Najib Razak thanked Viet Nam for supporting and working closely with his country in fulfilling the latter's mission in the run up to the establishment of the ASEAN Community.
Talking with the Chief Executive of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Leung Chun-ying, President Sang rejoiced at the strong growth of bilateral cooperation in economics, investment, tourism, education, and people-to-people exchanges, along with the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership between Viet Nam and China.
He highlighted the enormous cooperation potential between the two sides and called on Hong Kong companies to expand their activities in Viet Nam to optimise opportunities when Viet Nam becomes a member of the ASEAN Community, the TPP and many other free trade agreements (FTA).
The President applauded the speeding up of negotiations on an FTA between ASEAN and Hong Kong and asked the Chinese territory to lift the travel alert for Viet Nam.
For his part, Leung Chun-ying stressed that Hong Kong is strongly developing infrastructure to foster its economic connectivity with Southeast Asia, including Viet Nam.
He affirmed that Hong Kong will facilitate the grant of visas for Vietnamese citizens who want to visit and work in Hong Kong, and encourage its universities to admit students from Viet Nam.
Meeting with Russian PM
Also yesterday, President Sang had a meeting with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in Manila, the Philippines on the sideline of the APEC meeting.
The leaders lauded the substantial strides made in the Viet Nam-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership in 2015, especially the signing of the free trade agreement (FTA) between Viet Nam and the Eurasian Economic Union, of which Russia is a member.
The pact has reinforced economic ties between the two countries and created a new momentum for Russia and the Union's stronger connectivity with the ASEAN Community, they said.
President Sang said it is necessary to intensify and effectively implement all aspects of the nations' comprehensive strategic partnership, asking Russia to urge other members of the Eurasian Economic Union to ratify the FTA as soon as possible.
At the meeting, the two sides were unanimous in fostering bilateral cooperation in a more result-oriented fashion, especially in energy, oil and gas, and payment activities so as to facilitate their trade.
They also agreed to bolster co-ordination and mutual support at multilateral forums.
The Vietnamese leader asked PM Dmitry Medvedev to support Viet Nam in successfully organising APEC events in 2017.
President Sang yesterday also met with Singaporean PM Lee Hsien Loong and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos to explore ways to deepen bilateral collaboration. — VNS