In his opening speech delivered at the 24th General Meeting of the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC) themed “Vision for an Asia-Pacific Partnership for the 21st Century”, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh said, over the last three decades, the Asia-Pacific has been transformed into a region of peace and a driver of global growth and economic integration.
Asia-Pacific is the only region that has not suffered from a single armed conflict since the end of the Cold War. When PECC was established in 1980, the region accounted for over 40 percent of the global GDP and has now risen to over 50 percent. Over one billion people in the region have been lifted out of extreme poverty, Minh noted.
The Deputy PM affirmed that the region is a testament to the shared prosperity that can be gained through deeper economic integration and cooperation and more open trade and investment. So it would not be an exageration to project that the 21st century is an “Asia-Pacific century”.
However, Minh also pointed out three “baskets” of immediate and long-term challenges facing the region such as sluggish productivity, rising inequality within and among economies; the fourth Industrial Revolution, and the lingering risks of geopolitical conflicts and the lack of a responsive regional governance.
PECC, as a pioneer for new ideas on trade, investment, growth and integration, has been taking a leading role in charting a vision for the region, he said, expressing his hope that at this meeting, delegates would share insights and perspectives on major components of a vision for the region.
The recommendations and insights proposed at this meeting are important to APEC’s process of reflection on its work toward 2020 and beyond and “creating new dynamism, fostering a shared future” which is the overarching theme of APEC 2017, he stressed.
During the course of the meeting, delegates from 21 APEC member economies are scheduled to focus discussions on important achievements and growth prospects of the Asia-Pacific region.
They will also touch upon issues regarding new driving forces for economic growth and connectivity as well as the Asia-Pacific agenda on the digital economy/internet economy and the prospects of the Asia-Pacific partnership.