Keynote Address by President of Viet Nam H.E. Tran Dai Quang at the ABAC Dialogue with APEC Economic Leaders

(10 November 2017, Da Nang City, Viet Nam)

Ladies and gentlemen,

The Dialogue between APEC Economic Leaders and the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) members this year is of significant importance. It is time for us to find out new ways to sustain the role of APEC as a driver for economic growth and integration at the global level and in the Asia-Pacific. It is also timely for us to build a new vision for APEC as the Forum is entering its fourth decade of development. For that reason, APEC Economic Leaders are ready to dialogue with the business community ahead of the important Meeting tomorrow. The recommendations and ideas presented by ABAC will provide an important basis for us to consider and make decisions on APEC’s future direction.

I highly value ABAC Report to APEC Economic Leaders as presented by Mr. Chair of ABAC 2017 and welcome the twenty specific recommendations of the regional business community. It is my view that all of your recommendations are very practical and important.

The issues that attract the attention of the business community, particularly regional economic integration, connectivity, boosting trade and investment flows, MSMEs, inclusive growth, food security, APEC’s post-2020 vision, amongst others, are also issues of great concern for APEC leaders to work out appropriate solutions and practical actions. Here, I wish to emphasize some specific points as follows:

First, economic integration, connectivity, trade and investment liberalization have been and will continue to be the top priorities for APEC cooperation. All APEC member economies are committed to accelerating the implementation to achieve the Bogor Goals, with greater focus on services, investment and measures to reduce non-tariff barriers. APEC will also expedite the implementation of adopted plans, notably the APEC Connectivity Blueprint, the Supply-Chain Connectivity Framework, the Services Competitiveness Roadmap. At the same time, APEC need to focus more on emerging issues, such as cross-border e-commerce, the road map on the internet and digital economy, amongst others.

At the APEC Economic Leaders’ Retreat tomorrow, we will discuss the orientations to further expedite the efforts to achieve the Bogor Goals, connect supply chains, strengthen the multilateral trading system, promote regional trade agreements and move towards the realization of a Free Trade Area of the Asia – Pacific (FTAAP).

Second, we share the business community’s concerns on the need to increase MSMEs’ participation in global markets, improve businesses’ access to finance and enhance women’s economic empowerment. The greater participation of businesses in general and women entrepreneurs in particular will inject new impetus to foster sustainable and inclusive growth. We are committed to developing effective policy and legal frameworks to create a better environment for the business community.

Third, your recommendations on accelerating economic, financial and social inclusion, achieving food and energy security, promoting quality workforces in the digital age reflect the urgent issues to be addressed to ensure innovative, sustainable and inclusive growth. Since the beginning of this year, we have instructed APEC officials at all levels to focus on building long-term cooperation frameworks for economic, financial and social inclusion, human resources development in the digital age, food security in response to climate change and rural and urban development. These issues will also be in the agenda of tomorrow’s Meeting.

Fourth, I highly value the contributions made by the business community towards the idea of an APEC post-2020 vision. APEC has been successful for the past three decades. And the Forum is now at a pivotal juncture. I call on the business community to continue making active contributions and working with us to accomplish the task to build a new vision for the APEC Forum in the decades to come.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We can be proud that APEC has become one of the most successful cooperation forums in connecting the governments with the business community. The APEC Business Advisory Council, together with the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council and APEC Voices of the Future have always been the companions of APEC throughout the past decades to make joint contribution towards prosperous development of the Asia-Pacific.

Throughout the APEC Year 2017 in Viet Nam, the business community has made active contribution to all important APEC’s meetings. Many events within the framework of APEC Meetings have been organized by businesses, notably the APEC Start-ups Forum, APEC Public-Private Dialogue on Enhancing Capacities of MSMEs, APEC Women Entrepreneurs Forum. The business community has also actively participated and proposed ideas at the discussions and dialogues, including those on APEC towards 2020 and beyond, inclusive growth, food security, and sustainable tourism, among many others.

Let us continue to uphold this close and effective cooperation mechanism. I wish that the business community will continue to be the government’s companion at this critical juncture and beyond. I firmly believe that your companionship will provide new impetus to realize APEC’s ultimate goal for the benefit of people and businesses. 

I wish you very fruitful discussions.

Thank you for your attention.