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PM attends 12th ASEM Summit

Released at: 14:35, 20/10/2018

PM attends 12th ASEM Summit

PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc (C) at the 12th ASEM summit in Brussels on Oct.18-19 (Photo: VNA)

ASEM should work for more balanced economic-financial governance, PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc tells 12th ASEM Summit in Brussels on October 18-19.

by Long Van

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc attended the 12th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit, which opened in Brussels on October 18, joining Heads of State or governments from 28 EU members and 20 Asian countries.

According to a report from the Vietnam News Agency (VNA), addressing the second plenary session of the Summit on October 19, Prime Minister Phuc proposed that ASEM take the pioneering role in promoting multilateral cooperation and international order based on law and also respond to global challenges.

The news agency quoted the Prime Minister as suggesting that Asia and Europe should work more closely together to deal with traditional and non-traditional challenges, maintaining peace, promoting dialogues, and building trust, as well as undertaking preventive diplomacy in line with international and common norms.

ASEM should work for more balanced economic-financial governance and make the multilateral trade system more open, transparent and inclusive based on law, while enhancing the role of the WTO in the new situation, Prime Minister Phuc said.

He also proposed that ASEM lead in realizing commitments in climate change and natural disaster mitigation, the sustainable management of natural resources, and food and energy security.

At the same time, it is necessary to continue hastening the implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change, Prime Minister Phuc said, adding that developed members of ASEM should support developing members in accessing financial resources, technology, and investment in green energy, thus switching to green growth.

ASEM should exert more effort in reducing plastic waste, which is seriously threatening the maritime ecosystem and oceans’ health, he underscored.

The Prime Minister also stressed the need to promote inclusive socio-economic cooperation while focusing more on sustainable poverty reduction and high-quality education and human resources development in the digital era.

It is necessary to connect innovative centers and female entrepreneurs on the two continents, promoting people-to-people exchanges.

Vietnam will increase its financial contribution to the Asia-Europe Fund from 2019, he stated, adding that ASEM should share experience in inspiring innovation potential while assisting vulnerable groups in society, especially women and girls, in accessing digital technology, adapting to changes, and responding to risks.

The economic power of women should be enhanced to make them a subject of national development strategies, thus completing the UN sustainable development goals.

Prime Minister Phuc declared that Vietnam is striving to approve the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), sign a free trade agreement (FTA) with the EU, and complete negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in late 2018.

Vietnam is also working hard to prepare for shouldering the role of ASEAN Chair in 2020, he said, expressing his hope of receiving support from ASEM members for Vietnam in running for the position of non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in the 2020-2021 tenure.

Affirming Vietnam’s interest in ASEM cooperation, the Prime Minister proposed to host the ASEM Conference on promoting inclusive socio-economic growth in Asia and Europe and another on strengthening the digital economy amid Industry 4.0 in 2019.

According to VNA, the 12th ASEM Summit concluded on October 19 with the release of a Presidential Statement affirming the determination of ASEM members to strengthen partnerships between the two continents in coping with global challenges and sketching out orientations to enhance intra-bloc cooperation in the future.

Earlier, on October 18, Prime Minister Phuc also attended the 16th Asia-Europe Business Forum in Brussels, under the theme “Connectivity-Building Bridges between Europe and Asia”, which attracted over 400 corporate executives and business representatives from the two continents.

In his keynote address at the event, Prime Minister Phuc, as quoted by VNA, stressed that it is time to further strengthen and step up Asia-Europe connectivity and cooperation towards the target of sustainable development and common prosperity.

He hailed Asia and Europe as two bright spots in global economic growth and connectivity, saying that Asia contributed 6.2 per cent of global economic growth, led by East Asia - Pacific with a 6.6 per cent growth last year, and that the ASEAN launched the Master Plan on Connectivity in 2011 with a focus on infrastructure, institutions, and human connectivity.

Asia also boasts more than 150 FTAs, accounting for about 60 per cent of the world’s total, he said, adding that total cargo volumes transported via waters in Asia nears $5 trillion each year.

Meanwhile, the European economy is recovering firmly, with 2.4 per cent growth; a record over the last ten years. Negotiations and signing of FTAs between the two continents are opening up opportunities for connectivity and development, he said.

According to the Prime Minister, Vietnam’s National Assembly is planning to ratify the CPTPP, a deal with high standards and balanced interests, during a meeting in November. On October 17, the European Union (EU) adopted the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), which, he said, marked an important step towards its signing in late 2018 and ratification in the first half of 2019.

The Vietnamese leader suggested strengthening connectivity between governments and businesses and pushing forward with public-private partnerships in high-quality infrastructure, digital connectivity, education, healthcare, energy, agriculture, and manufacturing and processing.

He proposed holding regular dialogues between leaders of countries and business communities during ASEM to extensively discuss issues of shared concern, as well as stepping up activities in the ASEM Economic Ministers’ Meeting and dialogues between economic ministers and businesses from the two continents.

Prime Minister Phuc also suggested actively fostering business-to-business connectivity and realizing FTAs between Asian and European economies.

He called on enterprises to enhance their social responsibility for job creation, environmental protection, and response to global challenges, for sustainable development and prosperity for all citizens.

Briefing participants on Vietnam’s situation, the Prime Minister said its economy has grown over 6 per cent annually in the past two decades, expanding by 6.81 per cent in 2017 and nearly 7 per cent in 2018.

Vietnam is now a trusted partner of over 200 countries and territories, with total trade representing over 200 per cent of its GDP. The country’s trade value hit $425 billion in 2017, of which over $334 billion was traded in goods with Asian and European nations.

With 16 underway and future FTAs, Vietnam will have free trade ties with nearly 60 countries, making it easier to join the global supply and value chains, Prime Minister Phuc stressed.

Vietnam is striving to build a transparent, constructive, action-oriented government in service of the people and businesses, and create a favorable business and investment environment, he said.

Over the past three decades of reform, Vietnam has become a close friend of European partners. Europe is a major foreign investor in Vietnam with total investment of nearly $25 billion and is the largest supplier of non-refundable aid to Vietnam. Two-way trade rose five-fold during 2006-2017, to more than $50 billion last year.

According to a survey conducted by the European Chamber of Commerce (EuroCham) in Vietnam in March, 90 per cent of European firms want to increase investment in Vietnam.

Together with the implementation of the Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Partnership and Cooperation, the early signing and ratification of the EVFTA will create a new driving force for trade and investment between Vietnam and the EU, Prime Minister Phuc stressed.

In other news on Prime Minister Phuc’s activities during his ongoing European trip, VNA reported that he and his spouse left Brussels on October 19 for Copenhagen for an official visit to Denmark, where he will also attend the Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030 Summit (P4G).

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