APPF-26 debates economics-trade issues
The second plenary session of the 26th Annual Meeting of the Asia – Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF-26) took place on the afternoon of January 19, discussing economic and trade matters.
Deputy PM Vuong Dinh Hue speaking at the plenary session of the APPF-26 on the afternoon of January 19. (Credit: VGP)
In his keynote remarks, Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue said that, in over half a century, the Asia - Pacific region has strived to become a driver of global economic growth, thanks in part to extensive economic links and making the most of its potential and advantages, and the importance of the agricultural sector and the network of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).
He noted that efforts to increase regional trade and economic integration have produced important results, including the signing and implementation of many bilateral and multilateral FTAs.
“Vietnam has chosen international economic integration as the centre point of its efforts to actively integrate economically,” the Deputy PM said, adding that “the success of APEC 2017 in Vietnam is also a vivid manifestation of the vitality of cooperation and regional economic integration.”
Highlighting the challenges posed by rising protectionism and differing views on integration and globalisation, Deputy PM Hue pointed to new cooperation areas, such as value chains, integration, competition, e-commerce, saying that they would bring about greater benefits for regional economic integration.
“We should take concrete actions to improve connectivity, similar to APEC’s and ASEAN’s initiative, focusing on three priorities: infrastructure, human resources, and institutions. Parliaments play an important part in this process as national legislative bodies,” the official stated.
Vietnam's Deputy Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son delivered a report on the results of the 2017 APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting, which took place in the central city of Da Nang in November last year.
Talking about the relationship between the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and APPF, Canadian Senator Yuen Paul Woo said that to boost connectivity between the two forums, there is a need to develop a secretariat mechanism and each nation ought to put into action the agendas adopted at these forums.
He said that countries should learn from Vietnam’ example in closely organising the two events, so that their relevant points could be integrated together.
At the plenary session of the APPF-26 on the afternoon of January 19. (Credit: VGP)
At the session, participants focused on economic cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. Their debate provided a parliamentary perspective on and contribution to the efforts in the region, targeting the expansion of trade, investment, peace, stability, prosperity and sustainable development, which revolves around the agenda of the APEC Summit 2017.
They talked about the role of parliaments in intensively and comprehensively promoting economic links, food security and sustainable agricultural development, and support for MSMEs in the digital age.
Nurhayati Ali Assegaf, Chairperson of Indonesia’s Committee of Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation, suggested that parliaments should support the promotion of people-to-people diplomacy, the opening of direct air routes, and the simplification of visa procedures.
She also said that gender equality promotion could have a positive impact on GDP growth.
She suggested that APPF members make efforts to improve the role of MSMEs and other economic sectors for extensive and equal economic integration.
Masazumi Gotoda, member of the House of Representatives at the Nation Diet of Japan, said parliaments should play their inspection role to ensure the effective implementation of policies for economic growth related to currency and economic cooperation, among others.
He also suggested the building of a high-quality workforce for the digital age, and women empowerment, noting that fair competition is necessary for free trade.
Australian Senator John Williams said that food security should focus on the quality of soil and water, which can foster better nutrient sources that will help people to become healthier.
He stressed the importance of sharing knowledge among nations for common benefits and prosperity.
The APPF-26 will mull over regional cooperation in Asia-Pacific, and the future of APPF in its last two plenary sessions on January 20./.