Viet Nam News
NHA TRANG — The first Senior Officials’ Meeting of APEC 2017 officially opens in central coastal Khánh Hòa Province’s Nha Trang City on Thursday morning with attendees from 21 member economies.
The meeting comes at the start of what promises to be a difficult year as global and regional economic growth remains low, in addition to weak global trade and subdued investment.
“There are many uncertainties,” SOM chair and Deputy Foreign Minister of Việt Nam Bùi Thanh Sơn noted in his opening remarks.
“In some corners, we are hearing concerns that the benefits of globalisation are not distributed fairly. New disruptive technologies, if not properly harnessed, run the risk of widening development disparity among economies.”
“But the Asia-Pacific region remains the engine of economic growth and integration, and a pioneer in advancing trade and investment liberalisation,” Deputy FM Sơn affirmed.
Sơn said he believed APEC had all the resources, potential and capabilities to overcome these challenges and turn them into an impetus for further growth and development.
“As a grouping of dynamic economies, our region can and will continue to move ahead on the path of development and prosperity,” he added.
During the two-day SOM meeting, reports and recommendations from discussions of various APEC committees and working groups over the last 12 days will be presented to senior officials who will exchange views on how to advance APEC’s agenda in the four priority areas to help APEC affirm its relevance and role as the premier regional economic forum.
Accordingly, the priorities for APEC 2017 include fostering sustainable, innovative and inclusive growth; deepening regional economic integration; strengthening micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs)’s competitiveness and innovation in the digital age; and enhancing food security and sustainable agriculture in response to climate change.
Participants applauded the report by the Chair of the Finance Senior Officials’ Meeting and called for additional regular exchanges to ensure close collaboration between the banking and financial sectors to foster APEC’s common interests, General Đỗ Hùng Việt APEC 2017 National Secretariat’s deputy director briefed local media about results of the morning working session.
“Following the report by the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) Chair, delegates once again affirmed enterprises’ participation in APEC, which is of significant role to the success of APEC co-operation in 2017,” Việt said.
Later, the Economic Committee Chair’s report received opinions from 17 out of 21 representatives of the member economies. The opinions revealed concerns over vital issues, including structural reform, promoted co-operation and support for MSMEs, and highly appreciated Việt Nam’s initiative related to enhanced co-operation in human resources which would be further discussed in the afternoon.
In the morning, delegates also discussed ways to increase inclusiveness of growth – a top concern of Việt Nam and a common concern of the whole region – to ensure all citizens and businesses got the maximum benefits from globalisation and regional connection.
“What I hope to take away from this first SOM is a strong message reaffirming APEC’s essential role as the premier economic forum that is working for the people and businesses,” SOM Chair and Deputy FM Sơn said. — VNS