APEC Year 2018, has been themed “Harnessing Inclusive Opportunities, Embracing the Digital Future”. This year’s forum has focused largely on improving connectivity and deepening regional economic integration, promoting an inclusive and sustainable growth, and promoting inclusive growth through structural reform.
This year’s forum is important to APEC in consolidating both regional and global economic ties as well as anticipating the 30th anniversary of the forum which will happen in 2019.
APEC promotes global growth and connectivity
With the advent of the 4th Industrial Revolution, APEC is implementing a range of major cooperative programs: the Strategy for Strengthening Quality Growth by 2020, the Renewed APEC Agenda for Structural Reform 2020, the Service Competitiveness Roadmap by 2025, the Blueprint on Connectivity by 2025, the Agenda on Advancing Economic, Financial, and Social Inclusion by 2030 and the Framework on Human Resources Development in the Digital Age by 2025.
The Asia-Pacific region has made a strong overall contribution to the global economy. APEC’s growth has vastly improved the standard of living in the region and narrowed development gaps. APEC’s free trade facilitation has resulted in stronger growth for each member’s economy and the bloc as a whole. Despite these positives, regional leaders have called for a reorientation of cooperation goals. Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade, Tran Tuan Anh said, “Amid globalization, we have seen a temporary rise of protectionism based on populism. Leaders of APEC economies need to harmonize domestic interests and shared goals.”
Vietnam’s role as coordinator in APEC
This year marks 20 years of Vietnamese membership in APEC. Vietnam has seen its position elevated by the successful hosting of APEC Year 2017 and by its impressive development and integration achievements.
This year Vietnamese ministries and sectors have implemented a total of 14 projects to improve the capacity of public servants, small-and medium-sized enterprises, women, and workers in the areas of trade negotiation, digital skills, healthcare, and energy.
Minister Tran Tuan Anh said, “We must make wise decisions to balance interests and demonstrate our ability to honor our commitments. Vietnam, too, faces the adverse effects of globalization. All member countries must be committed to an integrated world and make sure the integration framework is viable, efficient, fair, and transparent.”