Greater integration between APEC economies is laying a path for the realization of their long-term goal of a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific to boost job creation and sustained growth, said Viet Nam President Truong Tan Sang in an interview ahead of the 2014 APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting that will coincide with the 25th anniversary of APEC’s founding.
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“APEC economies have always kept pace with new trends and advanced economic cooperation and integration mechanisms,” said President Sang. “Through our efforts, we are moving towards the establishment of a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific, as agreed by APEC Leaders in Ha Noi in 2006.”
President Sang pointed to Viet Nam’s participation in Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations which the region’s Leaders identified as possible steps to a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific, or FTAAP, when they met in Yokohama in 2010.
APEC Ministers in Beijing on Saturday adopted a roadmap and launched a collective strategic study for achieving an eventual FTAAP. These measures will be reviewed by Leaders when they meet here on Monday and Tuesday. New technical capacity building measures to ensure the region’s diverse economies are equipped to successfully negotiate and implement larger, more complex free trade agreements will also be considered.
“Developing economies will have an increasingly important role to play in the coming time,” President Sang noted, in reference to their participation in emerging regional undertakings. “The ASEAN-led mechanism, together with APEC, is a strong foundation toward a more democratic and equal architecture in the region.”
President Sang explained that more open, integrated markets are essential to facilitating the exchange of goods, services and innovative ideas that drive growth while opening the door to new economic opportunities and higher living standards to more people across the Asia-Pacific.
Regional integration initiatives are moving beyond the scope of “traditional trade” and increasing the need for cooperation to keep them on-track, he added. Improving information-sharing, transparency and conditions for the adoption of measures such as “good regulatory practices” that level the playing field for businesses will be among the elements in focus in Beijing.
“The realization of APEC’s economic and commercial commitments have positioned member economies, including Viet Nam, to accelerate reform and adjustment to regulations and policies in compliance with international commitments,” Sang said. “As a result, the business and investment environment continues to improve.”
“I’m sure that the other Leaders will agree with me that all of us want to show a stronger commitment for strengthening connectivity, advancing regional economic integration and greater growth,” President Sang concluded. “The member economies also need to further promote innovative, sustainable and inclusive development. If all members could achieve all these goals, I believe APEC will embrace a brighter future.”
The 22nd APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting will take place on 10-11 November. It will overlap with day two of the APEC CEO Summit, organized by the private sector, on 10 November.
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Current and former APEC Leaders and Ministers describe how member economies are building on the region’s progress in the new APEC 25th anniversary video.
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