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Vietnam calls for APEC to lead global efforts in promoting free trade

Nguyen Tung HANOI TIMES Wed, November 10, 2021

Global free trade should be based on an open multilateral trade framework that is inclusive, transparent, and in line with WTO regulations.

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) should lead the global efforts in promoting free trade activities by limiting trade barriers and expanding the networks of free trade agreements (FTAs).

 Vietnam’s Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son gave the remarks during the second session of the 32nd APEC Ministerial Meeting (AMM-32) on November 9, hosted by New Zealand and by co-chaired by the country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nanaia Mahuta and Minister for Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor.

“It is imperative for APEC to push for an open multilateral trade framework that is inclusive, transparent and based on the WTO regulations.”

Son welcomed APEC’s efforts in maintaining regional cooperation to combat the Covid-19 pandemic and push for economic recovery.

The minister stressed the Putrayaja 2040 vision is evidence of the strong determination and commitments of APEC members in overcoming difficulties and putting the global economy back on the recovery track for prosperity.

Meanwhile, Son suggested APEC  further strengthen the resilience of supply chains, as well as accelerating cooperation programs on digital economy and supporting small and medium enterprises for movements of goods and people, digital transformation, and greater adaptability to future changes.

According to Son, an effective solution to contain the Covid-19 pandemic is to continue assisting countries accessing vaccines in a timely manner, along with the transfer of vaccine production technologies, enhancing the capability of public health systems and effective response to future health emergencies.

Son added economic recovery should also be associated with global sustainability, inclusion, and resilience, which is expected to be realized by cooperation in trade facilitation, promoting circular economy, energy-water-food security, climate change, and natural disaster management, supporting women’s rights in doing businesses and socially vulnerable groups.

At the meeting, foreign ministers from 21 APEC economies discussed measures to enhance cooperation in Covid-19 response and fair distribution of vaccines, medical tools, and investment in healthcare systems.

APEC members stressed the priority to ensure a dynamic and connected Asia-Pacific region by ensuring free, open, and fair trade/investment environment; preventing disruption of supply chains, and grasping opportunities from Industry 4.0.

APEC also noted social-economic and trade policies should promote equal opportunity in accessing jobs and benefits for vulnerable groups of women and people living in remote areas.

All parties agreed on efforts to address climate change and manage natural resources in a sustainable way for food and water security.

Vietnam’s priorities for economic recovery

Previously, Vietnam’s Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien attended the first session of the AMM-32 and briefed other delegations on  Vietnam’s priorities in economic recovery and contribution to the APEC.

Dien noted the country would continue to support the recovery of supply chains for smooth mobility of goods and people.

According to Dien, the Government continues to provide support for businesses and people for the soon resumption of economic activities through waiving and freezing payments of fees and taxes, especially in fields severely impacted by the pandemic.

“Vietnam is carrying out large-scale infrastructure projects to boost inter-provincial linkage, green energy, and digital infrastructure development by utilizing resources from the state budget and the participation of the private sector,” he added.

Dien said Vietnam is committed to supporting free and open multilateral trade that is based on international law and practices.

“Vietnam would cooperate closely with WTO members to ensure fruitful results at the WTO Trade Minister Meeting in December,” he said.

Ministers from the 21 APEC member economies later concluded the 2021 APEC Ministerial Meeting by issuing a joint statement, which describes collective policy commitments to be implemented by APEC economies over the next year to accelerate and ensure a resilient and sustainable long-term recovery, with trade, inclusion, sustainability, innovation and digitalization as drivers of quality growth

The joint statement also includes two annexes on the report of the APEC Services Competitiveness Roadmap review and a reference list of Environmental and Environmentally Related Services.

Established in 1989, APEC consists of 21 member economies, which account for about three billion people, half of the global trade, 60% of total GDP, and much of the world’s growth. 

Vietnam officially joined APEC in 1998 and hosted the APEC Summit twice in 2006 and 2017.

SOURCE: HANOI TIMES,VIETNAM Wed, November 10, 2021

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