Illustrative image. Photo: VGP
Sixty meetings, workshops and dialogues held within the framework of SOM1, with the participation of almost 2,000 delegates.
The first APEC Senior Officials Meeting (SOM1) and related meetings ended on March 3 in the south-central city of Nha Trang in Khanh Hoa province, the Vietnam News Agency reports.
While chairing a press conference following the event, Deputy Foreign Minister and APEC 2017 SOM Chair Bui Thanh Son said that APEC member economies paid due attention to SOM1 and related meetings as they were the first official gatherings for APEC 2017 and set out cooperation orientations for the region throughout the year.
The meetings took place at a time when the regional economy continued seeing slow growth and uncertainty, while the APEC business community and people pin high hopes on the forum’s contribution to improving the investment environment and quality of life, as there are only three years to go until the deadline for the Bogor Goals is reached, Mr. Son said, adding that these meetings were an important occasion for APEC to show its resolve to step up cooperation in dealing with common issues and challenges.
With the theme “Creating New Dynamism, Fostering a Shared Future”, as many as 60 meetings, workshops and dialogues within the framework of SOM1 were held with the participation of almost 2,000 delegates from the 21 APEC member economies, regional and international organizations, as well as scholars and entrepreneurs both inside and outside of Vietnam.
As host of APEC 2017, Vietnam proposed and gained support from the member economies for four major orientations: Continuing the implementation of APEC’s major, long-term cooperation orientations, particularly specific steps to achieve the Bogor Goals on trade and investment liberalization in the region by 2020; Agreeing to set up a mechanism to discuss a post-2020 APEC Vision; Shifting APEC cooperation orientations, not only focusing on trade and investment liberalization but also ensuring inclusion in trade and growth; and that APEC should be a leading mechanism in terms of cooperation and the settlement of the practical needs of people.
The Deputy Foreign Minister revealed that SOM1 and related meetings reached consensus on the four priorities proposed by Vietnam for APEC Year 2017: promoting sustainable, innovative and inclusive growth; deepening regional economic integration; strengthening micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises’ (MSMEs’) competitiveness and innovation in the digital age; and enhancing food security and sustainable agriculture in response to climate change.
At the meetings, Vietnam also raised a number of major initiatives for 2017 as well as for the long term. Worthy of note is the initiative to set up a mechanism for future APEC cooperation, including the building of a post-2020 APEC Vision and the acceleration of the Bogor Goals.
The other initiatives cover a range of fields, such as promoting inclusive development in Asia-Pacific, human resources development in the digital age, stepping up support industries, transnational e-commerce, sustainable tourism development in the context of climate change, and dialogues on anti-corruption and trade fraud prevention, Mr. Son said.
Delegates discussed and cemented the contents of the priorities and put forth proposals and new, practical initiatives relating to the concerns of the people and businesses in the region.
They also reached consensus and endorsed the work plan for the whole year, including SOMs, Ministerial Meetings, and the APEC Economic Leaders Week in Da Nang in November.
In conclusion, Mr. Son said the outcomes of SOM1 indicate that cooperation, connectivity, and trade and investment liberalization for a developed and prosperous region remains the mainstream in Asia-Pacific. Members will continue discussing major issues at SOM2 in Hanoi in May so that APEC cooperation can bring more practical benefits to people and businesses.