Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, co-chair of the 29th APEC Ministerial Meeting (AMM), also told local and foreign media on Thursday afternoon that the meeting had approved an e-commerce facilitation framework within the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) bloc.
Three key documents that agreement was reached on at the 29th AMM are: APEC Strategy for Green, Sustainable and Innovative MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises); 2018-2020 Action Plan on Food Security and Climate Change; and an Action Programme on Rural-Urban Development to Strengthen Food Security and Quality Growth.
“Additionally, we agreed on strategic documents for APEC co-operation, many of them formulated and approved this year, that carry practical co-operation content like narrowing the development gap; ensuring that member economies achieve inclusive social, financial and economic development; and opening up new development potentials for the region such as through accelerated development of quality human resources,” Minh said.
He said education co-operation and enabling all strata of people, women and youth to contribute to economic development and benefit from free trade and growth, were also mentioned in the documents.
Following three working sessions on Wednesday and Thursday, the APEC ministers of foreign and economic affairs agreed that in the context of new technological and globalisation trends, the bloc needs to create “new dynamisms” to maintaining it as a driver of global growth and linkages.
“The ministers emphasised the importance of structural reform to improve productivity, support MSMEs in accelerating growth and creating employment; promoting creativity, innovation, business and start-up spirits; providing labourers with new skills to adapt themselves in the digital age; and applying science and technology to ensure food security, agricultural and rural development, and respond to climate change,” said Minh.
He said that to prepare itself for the fourth decade of development as well as the realisation of Bogor Goals, the ministers discussed and voiced the necessity to maintain discussions on new co-operation orientations for APEC after 2020.
Lima Declaration on FTAAP
Asked about the action plan for implementing the Lima Declaration on the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), co-chair of the 29th AMM, Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh, said APEC ministers had agreed to continue discussing the work plan on advancing the pact.
At numerous forums and co-operation frameworks throughout 2017, the member economies have formulated and determined fundamental content as well as priorities to be included in the work plan, he said.
However, “the action plan has not been approved yet [at the 29th AMM],” Anh said.
“Mapping out a specific work plan to advance the Lima Declaration on FTAAP with common content and areas of interest is not simple as the 21 APEC member economies are located in four different continents with different socio-economic development levels, priorities and interests,” he said.
“Despite huge efforts, differences still exist in selecting concrete content, areas and programmes to be included in the action plan.”
“APEC ministers decided that they need more time to continue discussions in 2018 on the basis of consensus on priorities proposed by each member economy for the action plan.”
The 21 APEC member economies group Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hongkong-China, Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam.
On Thursday, the leaders of Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Hongkong-China, Malaysia, Mexico, Myanmar, New Zealand and Peru arrived in Da Nang to attend the most significant event of APEC 2017 – the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting.
Other leaders will be expected to land in the central coastal city today, when a dialogue will be held between the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) and the APEC economic leaders.
President welcomes foreign leaders to Da Nang
President Tran Dai Quang on Thursday received several foreign leaders in Da Nang as they started arriving for the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) Summit.
Quang had brief bilateral meetings with his counterparts from the Philippines, Mexico and Peru: Rodrigo Duterte, Pena Nieto, and Pablo Kuczynski, respectively, on the side-lines of APEC.
He welcomed Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea Peter O’Neill, and Myanmar’s State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi.
Quang also held talks with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) President Jin Liqun on the same day.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh, meanwhile, received his New Zealand counterpart Winston Peters on Thursday as he arrived in Da Nang.
Minh also had bilateral meetings with Brunei’s Second Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Lim Jock Seng and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration of Papua New Guinea Rimbink Pato.