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Vietnam Today

Over 200 delegates attend last working day of APEC SOM 3 gatherings

Released at: 11:18, 28/08/2017 APEC Viet Nam 2017

Over 200 delegates attend last working day of APEC SOM 3 gatherings

Photo: apec2017.vn

With meetings and dialogues wrapped up, SOM3 will open on August 29.

by Van Long

The SOM Friends of the Chair on Connectivity Meeting and the SOM Dialogue on RTAs/FTAs in the Asia-Pacific region took place in Ho Chi Minh City on August 27 with the attendance of over 200 delegates, including APEC senior officials and representatives from APEC economies, academia, and business.

This was the last working day of the committees and working groups within the framework of APEC SOM 3 and Related Meetings. SOM 3 will open on August 29, also in Ho Chi Minh City.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and APEC 2017 SOM Chair, Mr. Bui Thanh Son, co-chaired the Friends of the Chair on Connectivity Meeting, where participants were updated on the implementation of the APEC Connectivity Blueprint, including the outcomes from the High-level Policy Dialogue on Sustainable Tourism last June, the APEC Guidebook on Quality Infrastructure Development and Investment, the APEC Port Service Network, and the Paper on Inventory of Best Practices on the Three Pillars of the APEC Connectivity Blueprint. They also had the opportunity to hear the ASEAN Secretariat share experience in the implementation of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025.

Strengthened connectivity will contribute to opening up new sources of economic growth, fostering inclusive and interconnected development and advancing regional economic integration towards achieving the goal of a seamlessly and comprehensively connected and integrated Asia-Pacific by 2025.

Toward this end, in 2014, APEC Economic Leaders established an APEC Framework on Connectivity that embodied APEC’s long-term commitment to accelerating its connectivity within its three pillars: physical, institutional and people-to-people. In 2015, APEC economies adopted the APEC Connectivity Blueprint 2015-2025. This Blueprint was expected to promote the implementation of APEC growth strategies, strengthen regional quality transportation networks, reduce transaction costs, make the region more competitive and cohesive, and enhance synergy and cooperation among various infrastructure connectivity programs in the region.

At the SOM Dialogue on RTAs/FTAs in the Asia-Pacific region, participants exchanged views and experiences in negotiating, signing, and implementing RTAs/FTAs.

“APEC is naturally the best platform to discuss FTAs/RTAs”, said Mr. Son, adding that RTAs/FTAs play a significant role in creating new dynamism for economic growth as well as for investment and trade in the region.

As at December 2016, 165 RTAs/FTAs signed by at least one APEC member economy had gone into effect, 62 of which were intra-APEC agreements.

APEC is striving towards the completion of the Bogor Goals and has committed to take concrete steps towards the eventual realization of the FTAAP.

RTAs/FTAs have brought about great benefits in terms of economic growth, market access, and FDI attraction, and have helped motivate and reinforce broader reforms in domestic policy. However, given the current regional and global context, particularly the rapid evolution of Industrial 4.0, the question is how to make the best use of the socioeconomic benefits from RTAs/FTAs and at the same time mitigate their adverse effects, such as adjustment costs, increasing income inequality, and so on.

Moreover, given the diverse economic, political, and development context of economies in the region, APEC’s sharing of information, exchanging of experience, and policy discussions on negotiating and signing RTAs/FTAs are extremely useful, practical, and necessary for joint economic development, social stability, and shared prosperity throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

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