The participation of Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc at the invitation of his Malaysian counterpart demonstrates Vietnam’s commitment to join regional efforts to contribute to building a strategic development vision for an Asia-Pacific region of peace, stability, dynamism, innovation, connection and prosperity in the coming time.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc. Photo: zing

The 27th APEC Summit is taking place at a time when the region and world are experiencing an extremely difficult period as the COVID-19 pandemic is putting lives of people at risk and negatively affecting socio-economic development in all countries as well as regional trade, investment and economic cooperation.

In fact, the pandemic has washed away many of the social and economic achievements of countries. Economists agreed that it will take regional countries years to recover their economies and regain the pre-pandemic momentum for socio-economic development.

In 1994, when the second APEC Summit took place in Bogor, Indonesia, APEC member countries agreed on the Bogor Goals. Accordingly, APEC would become a free trade and investment region. The developed member countries of APEC would open their economies in 2010 while the deadline for the developing ones to open their economies would be 2020.

So the year of 2020 is an important turning point of APEC as it is the time for all APEC member countries to complete the Bogor Goals on regional trade and investment liberalization. This year, APEC also has to adopt a development vision beyond 2020 with strategic orientations for regional cooperation in the next two decades.

The 27th APEC Summit with its theme "Optimising Human Potential Towards a Resilient Future of Shared Prosperity: Pivot, Prioritize, Progress" is expected to focus on three priorities, namely improvement of trade and investment; inclusive economic development via technology-based and digital economy models; and sustainable development. Additionally, leaders of APEC member countries will discuss approaches to successfully control the COVID-19 pandemic and recover the economy. 

Since it joined APEC in 1998, Vietnam has actively participated and spared no effort to make contributions to APEC. Vietnam is among a few APEC member countries that have hosted the APEC Summit twice over the past two decades (in 2006 and 2017). Moreover, both the times of Vietnam’s hosting of the APEC Summit were universally considered a success and highly valued by APEC member countries.

Over the past more than two decades of its APEC membership, Vietnam has always proved itself to be an active and responsible member. Especially in recent years, the country has become more proactive in various matters of the forum while giving initiatives and approaches to boost regional cooperation at meetings within the framework of APEC.   

In 2020, as the ASEAN Chair and non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, Vietnam has actively coordinated and supported Malaysia, the host of the 27th APEC Summit, and other APEC members to seek ways to maintain regional cooperation and connection in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the year, Vietnam has participated in nearly 100 virtual and physical meetings in the framework of APEC 2020.

After more than 30 years of foundation and development, APEC has proved to be a leading multilateral economic cooperation mechanism in the world. It has also taken the lead in liberating economy, trade and investment. The organization has made an important contribution to boosting economic growth, maintaining peace and expanding multilateral cooperation in the Asia Pacific and the world.

During the period of 1994-2019, APEC aggregate GDP increased almost four times and the average economic growth in the region reached 6.9% per year. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, APEC’s average economic growth was still estimated to reach 3.9% in 2020.

The Vietnamese people and people of other APEC member countries strongly believe that the 27th APEC Summit will be a success, giving the right orientations for the regional countries to recover their economies, expand regional trade, investment and economic cooperation and maintain peace, stability and sustainable development in the region and world.

Written by the Editorial Board

Translated by Thu Nguyen