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APEC 2006 creates breakthrough in diplomacy, economy
22 | 07 | 2007
- The 14th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting successfully concluded on Nov. 19, wrapping up the APEC Year 2006 in Viet Nam with various achievements. Foreign media described the event as a breakthrough in both diplomatic and economic areas.

APEC 2006 contributed to improving Viet Nam's position and prestige in the international area. It also offered an opportunity for the country to introduce its accomplishments and renewal policies to foreign friends, to call for investment and to boost economic and trade cooperation.

Big Festival of Friendship

The capital city of Ha Noi bustled last week with 17 APEC events. During the APEC Economic Leaders' Week, five official friendship visits to Viet Nam were paid by General Secretary of the Communist Party of China and President of China Hu Jintao, US President George W. Bush, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chilean President Michelle Bachelet.

During the event, Vietnamese leaders conducted more than 30 bilateral meetings with leaders from other APEC member economies. Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung alone had 20 bilateral meetings and Deputy PM-cum-Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem, 12 meetings with his counterparts.

On the sidelines of the event, many other bilateral and multilateral meetings took place between leaders of APEC member economies such as between Japan and the US, between Japan, the US and the Republic of Korea, between China and the US, between Russia and the US, and between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the US.

Viet Nam's biggest contribution to APEC cooperation process

The 14th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting concluded with member economies strongly committing to realising APEC's goals for free and open trade and investment, building a safe business environment, intensifying human security, and moving towards a dynamic Asia-Pacific community, sustainable development and prosperity.

The fact that APEC leaders' release of the Stand-alone Statement on Doha Development Agenda (DDA) demonstrated the group's wish and determination to resume the negotiation round which is at a standstill.

As it put forth some practical measures to re-kickstart the Doha Round, such as flexible commitments in agriculture, industrial taxes, trade and service, the Stand-alone Statement on DDA was Viet Nam's important contribution to the issue, as a World Trade Organisation member.

The event, which focused on four major issues: multilateral trade liberalisation; bilateral trade liberalisation with more transparency; accelerating the National Action Plan and increasing cooperation among APEC members; and the Ha Noi Action Plan to implement the Busan Roadmap towards the Bogor Goals, which Viet Nam made an important contribution to, leaving the country's mark on APEC's cooperation process.

From now until 2020, when the Bogor Goals are mentioned, they will be related to Viet Nam's efforts, responsibility and role in APEC's cooperation process. This was also Viet Nam's responsibility in its capacity as a member, particularly right after joining the WTO.

APEC Viet Nam 2006 was recognised as a year of APEC reform, with basic and long-term plans being specified so as to improve the grouping's dynamism and efficiency in the future.

This was actually an important achievement of Viet Nam as the reform of APEC was proposed many years ago but moved slowly. It was not until 2006 that major orientations on APEC reform had been approved with proposals from Viet Nam and the co-ordination of members in SOM Friends of the Chair Group on APEC Reform.

After eight years of accession to APEC, despite being a developing economy which is in the transitional period, Viet Nam was seen by other members as a country making positive contributions to the development of the forum. And the successful organisation of the APEC Year 2006 was seen as the country's biggest contribution to the grouping.

Taking golden opportunity created by APEC

During the APEC 2006 Economic Leaders' Week, Viet Nam signed with its partners various cooperation agreements and contracts worth billions of USD in total.

Viet Nam and China also signed 10 cooperation documents which will bring in more than 3 billion USD.

At the "Doing Business with Viet Nam Forum 2006" alone, eight contracts and projects totalling nearly 2 billion USD were signed between Vietnamese enterprises and their foreign partners.

However, State President Nguyen Minh Triet said "How many contracts and how much we signed on this occasion is a good result, but more importantly Viet Nam will surely become an attractive destination in the future. If we continue to build an attractive image of Viet Nam, with favourable conditions for investors, the country can attract investment worth billions of USD in the near future."

According to Hoang Van Dung, Chairman of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), the APEC 2006 Economic Leaders' Week offered local businesses a "golden" opportunity to learn experiences from leading entrepreneurs in the world.

"This is of particular importance as a majority, around 96 percent, of Vietnamese businesses are small- and medium-sized enterprises," he said.

It was not a coincidence that all meetings and economic forums which took place during the APEC Economic Leaders' Week were attended by the highest ranking leaders of Viet Nam.

State President Nguyen Minh Triet attended and delivered a speech at the APEC Investment Forum and took part in a dialogue with businesses at the ABAC Meeting, while Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung attended and addressed the "Doing Business with Viet Nam Forum 2006" and the APEC CEO Summit.

These helped Viet Nam convey best message of its all-out efforts to improve investment and business environment to thousands of major companies and economic groups from all parts of the world.

The event was a vital opportunity for Vietnamese government officials to introduce the country's potential, reform policies and socio-economic development strategies to thousands of well-known regional and global corporations, including BP, Coca Cola, HSBC and Intel.

It could be said that APEC 2006 brought "golden" opportunities to Viet Nam, especially local businesses.

The APEC 2006 Economic Leaders' Week ended successfully, wrapping up an eventful and successful year for APEC and Viet Nam in particular. Viet Nam made a strong impression on its renewal, dynamic development, diversified cultural identity and hospitality which will stay forever in the hearts of international friends

Ha Noi (VNA)
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