HÀ NỘI – Members of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) need to uphold the spirit of solidarity and responsibility to help the region overcome challenges and difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and continue leading the global economic recovery, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Phạm Bình Minh has said.
Minh was speaking at the 31st Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Ministerial Meeting (AMM) held via videoconference on Monday, under the chair of Malaysian Minister of International Trade and Industry Mohamed Azmin Ali.
Attending the meeting were ministers and leaders of the ministries of foreign affairs and economy of 21 APEC member economies, representative of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), and leaders of the APEC Business Advisory Council, Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC), Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) and ASEAN Secretariat.
Minh said that the spirit of cohesion and proactive adaptation has helped ASEAN steadily overcome the challenges of the past year and continue to move forward.
He suggested APEC continue promoting its pioneering role in stepping up open and free trade and investment, regional economic connectivity and people-centred economic growth.
“APEC needs to take the lead in promoting an open, rule-based multilateral trading system, working effectively with the reform of the WTO to ensure adaptability to the strong development of science and technology and the profound transformation of economic and business models,” Minh said.
He said he believed that with an ambitious and actionable vision to be endorsed by APEC leaders in the next few days, APEC will continue to affirm its role as a leading economic cooperation mechanism in the region, an important driving force in building a peaceful, connected, resilient and creative Asia-Pacific community.
At the meeting, the Vietnamese delegation also made many important proposals to help control the pandemic and boost economic recovery, ensure the sustainability of supply chains, and improve the self-reliance against future crises and shocks.
As a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the 2020-21 tenure and the ASEAN Chair in 2020, Việt Nam affirmed its continued efforts to, together with the international community, enhance multilateral cooperation, including within the framework of APEC.
During the first session on improving trade and investment, foreign and economic ministers of APEC economies appreciated the efforts to control the COVID-19 pandemic, maintain cooperation, ensure the flows of essential goods and services, and boost regional economic linkages.
They agreed to further advance economic integration in the region, in a manner that is market-driven, including through the work on the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) agenda which will contribute to high quality and comprehensive regional undertakings.
They stressed the importance of a rule-based multilateral trading system and backed the WTO’s reform efforts.
Many of them spoke highly the significance of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement freshly signed at the 37th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits.
The ministers also discussed orientations for APEC cooperation in the future, and agreed to beef up cooperation in trade and investment, sustainable and inclusive growth, and digital economic development.
In the second session on inclusiveness, digital economy and sustainable innovation, the participants showed their support for the promotion of digital platforms, structure reforms, sustainable and inclusive development and innovation.
It is essential to ensure social welfare, increase resilience, boost inclusive economic recovery and minimise the COVID-19 pandemic’s impacts on developing economies.
APEC needs to pay attention to food security and the sustainable management of natural resources, as well as increasing women’s empowerment and supporting micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, the ministers said.
The 31st APEC Ministerial Meeting approved a joint statement of the ministers affirming the determination of 21 APEC member economies to continue building a self-reliant and prosperous Asia-Pacific region. – VNS