Viet Nam News
HCM CITY – APEC’s two-day third senior officials meeting (SOM 3) began yesterday with the participation of more than 200 delegates from the 21 APEC economies, the APEC Business Advisory Council, the ASEAN Secretariat and the Pacific Economic Co-operation Council.
On the first day ABAC (APEC Business Advisory Council) and APEC working groups and forums reported on their work and preparations for the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting to be held in Đà Nẵng in November.
As the host of APEC this year, Việt Nam reported on the bloc’s economic co-operation.
Most of the reports underlined the significance of regional economic integration, which is one of APEC’s priorities this year.
In his opening speech, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Bùi Thanh Sơn, chairman of SOM 3, said APEC had done well so far.
"Progress has been made in all committees, working groups and sub-forums, as well as in a number of initiatives."
Since the beginning of this year over 200 meetings had been held across the numerous workstreams of APEC, he said.
In the last 10 days alone a series of almost 80 meetings involving the participation of nearly 3,000 delegates had been held, including many significant, high-level events, he said.
He said the Food Security Week in Cần Thơ, which concluded with the High-level Policy Dialogue on Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture in response to Climate Change, produced important results with three key documents being adopted: the Cần Thơ Statement and action plans on food security and rural-urban development.
The High-level Meeting on Health and the Economy, attended by many health ministers, sought ways to boost patient-first investment and build capacity for healthcare financing and access in the region for the ultimate aim of ensuring a healthy and productive workforce, he said.
A lot of ground would be covered at SOM3, including reviews of the work done by the APEC Committee of Trade and Investment, Economic Committee, Steering Committee on Economic and Technical Cooperation, and Budget Management Committee and finalisation of the proposed outcome documents for likely submission to APEC ministers and leaders, he said.
With only three months to go for the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Đà Nẵng a huge amount of work remained to be done, he said.
Dr. Alan Bollard, executive director of the APEC Secretariat, told the Việt Nam News: "After the SOM3 meeting in HCM City, we will have most of the proposed initiatives for the year to meet Việt Nam’s priorities. We are putting them all together, some of them are going through the ministerial meetings."
Some ministerial meetings are coming up, including on small and medium-sized enterprises in HCM City next month, on finance in Hội An and on women in the economy in Huế, he said.
"We will bring all those [initiatives from these meetings] together for Đà Nẵng in November when … leaders will agree and ratify those."
There would be roughly 400 initiatives, he added.
The meeting resumes today with a focus on Việt Nam’s report on outcomes of the symposium on “Advancing Inclusion in the APEC region”, updates on the proposed APEC Action Agenda on Promoting Economic, Financial, and Social Inclusion and discussions on implementation and proposals of other projects.
The Economic Committee has finalised the draft process for the APEC Economic Policy on Structural Reform and Human Capital Development, which will be submitted to the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in November.
The Trade and Investment Committee suggested two documents: Framework on Cross-border E-Commerce Facilitation and Guidelines for Promoting Supporting Industries in the Asia-Pacific Region.
SOM’s next steps to develop the APEC Post-2020 Vision, including the possibility of a Leaders’ Statement on APEC Toward 2020 and Beyond will also be discussed. — VNS