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Deputy PM: Connectivity key for economic integration

Released at: 15:30, 20/01/2018

Deputy PM: Connectivity key for economic integration

Deputy MP Vuong Dinh Hue speaks at the APPF-26 meeting on Jan.19 (Photo: VGP)

Deputy Prime Minister addresses second plenary session of 26th Annual Meeting of Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum on January 19.

by Quang Huy

Vietnam has chosen international economic integration as the center point of its economic integration overall, Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue told the second plenary session of the 26th Annual Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF-26), held on January 19 and 20 to discuss economic and trade matters.

In his keynote remarks, Deputy Prime Minister Hue said that in the last half a century the Asia-Pacific region has thrived and become a driver of global economic growth, thanks in part to extensive economic links and it making the most of the potential, advantages, and the importance of the agricultural sector and the network of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

He noted that efforts to increase regional trade and economic integration have produced important results, including the signing and implementation of many bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements (FTAs).

“Vietnam has chosen international economic integration as the center point of its efforts to actively integrate economically,” the Deputy PM said, adding that “the success of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2017 in Vietnam is also a vivid manifestation of the vitality of cooperation and regional economic integration.”

Highlighting challenges posed by rising protectionism and differing views on integration and globalization, the Deputy Prime Minister pointed to new areas of cooperation such as value chains, integration, competition, and e-commerce, saying they will bring about greater benefits from regional economic integration.

“We should take concrete actions to improve connectivity, similar to APEC and ASEAN initiatives, focusing on three priorities: infrastructure, people, and institutions,” he said. “Parliaments play an important part in this process as national legislative bodies.”

Talking about the relationship between APEC and the APPF, Canadian Senator Mr. Yuen Paul Woo said that to boost connectivity between the two forums there is a need to develop a secretariat mechanism and each nation ought to put into action the agendas adopted at these forums.

Participants focused on economic cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region, with debate providing a parliamentary perspective on and contribution to efforts in the region targeting the expansion of trade, investment, peace, stability, prosperity, and sustainable development, which revolves around the agenda of APEC Summit 2017.

They discussed the role of parliaments in intensively and comprehensively promoting economic links, food security and sustainable agricultural development, and support for MSMEs in the digital age.

Ms. Nurhayati Ali Assegaf, Chairperson of Indonesia’s Committee of Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation, suggested parliaments support the promotion of people-to-people diplomacy, the opening of direct air routes, and the simplification of visa procedures. “Gender equality promotion could have a positive impact on GDP growth,” she said, suggesting that APPF members make efforts to improve the role of MSMEs and other economic sectors for extensive and equal economic integration.

Mr. Masazumi Gotoda, member of the House of Representatives at the National Diet in Japan, said parliaments should manage their inspection role to ensure the effective implementation of policies for economic growth related to currency and economic cooperation, among others. He also suggested the building of a high-quality workforce for the digital age and women’s empowerment, noting that fair competition is necessary for free trade.

Australian Senator John Williams said food security should relate to the quality of soil and water, which can foster better nutrients that help people become healthier. He stressed the importance of sharing knowledge among nations for common benefits and prosperity.

The APPF-26 will mull over regional cooperation in Asia-Pacific, and the future of APPF, in its last two plenary sessions on January 20.

Founded in Tokyo, Japan in 1993, the APPF now gathers 27 members: Australia, Cambodia, Canada, China, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Fiji, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, the Marshall Islands, Mexico, Micronesia, Mongolia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, the US, and Vietnam.

It is a mechanism that enables parliamentarians to discuss issues of common concern and to deepen their understanding of the region and the interests and experience of its diverse members. The Forum’s proceedings address political, security, economic, social, and cultural issues, thus furthering regional cooperation and building relations between and among parliamentarians from the Asia-Pacific region.

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