(Quang Nam, Viet Nam, 21 October 2017)
Distinguished APEC Finance Ministers,
Distinguished invited guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,
On behalf of the Government of Viet Nam, I would like to express the great pleasure to welcome the Ministers, heads of delegations and all of you attending the 24th APEC Finance Ministers’ Meeting and other related events in the province of Quang Nam, the home to two UNESCO-recognised world heritage sites, namely the Hoi An Ancient Town and My Son Sanctuary.
Our meeting is taking place in the context of the global economy continuing its recovery, and global trade, investment and finance continuing to improve. The APEC region, with the world’s leading economies and many dynamically developing ones as members, continue to be the driving force behind the global growth.
However, APEC is still facing many difficulties and challenges. The growth rates and levels of productivity in a number of economies remain low. At the recent Finance and Central Bank Deputies’ Meeting, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) forecast that the trade growth in the region is slowing down, protectionism and non-tariff measures tend to increase … In addition, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is both an opportunity and a challenge for all of us.
The reality is that not all members of the society have benefited from globalization, trade and investment liberalization. Climate change has been causing many negative impacts on the development of economies. Particularly worrying is that our region has some hot spots that threaten the environment of peace, security and stability for development.
The difficulties and challenges are enormous, while the resources, especially our financial resources, are still limited. This requires us to join hands both to make efforts for the maintenance of a peaceful and stable environment and to share our experiences, to cooperate in a creative and effective manner for prosperity and sustainable development.
Over the past years, APEC Finance Ministers have actively cooperated towards the objectives of promoting the deepened economic integration, innovative and inclusive growth, and enhancing the competitiveness of small and medium enterprises.
APEC 2017 is the first year of the implementation of the Strategy for Modernization of the Finance Ministers’ Process. In that regard, I welcome the Ministers’ cooperation on the four priority themes:
(i) Long term Investment in Infrastructure, aimed at enhancing the private sector engagement in infrastructure projects, especially in the form of PPP; (ii) Tax base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS), aimed at facilitating the capital flows and improving the transparency of the business environment; (iii) Disaster risk financing and insurance, aimed at preventing and mitigating the impacts of natural disasters; and (iv) Financial inclusion, aimed at sharing experiences, policy recommendations to overcome difficulties in credit access and financial services for people, businesses, farmers, cooperatives, thus contributing to poverty reduction and inclusive development.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Over the past 30 years since Viet Nam started its Doi Moi, or Renovation, process, from the position of a poor and underdeveloped country, the country has made great efforts to strive and, since 2010, as assessed by the World Bank, been among the middle income developing economies. In 2016, Viet Nam’s GDP growth rate was 6.21%, and the estimated figure for 2017 is 6.7%. The inflation rate has remained stable at less than 5%, with the budget deficit being below 4%, and the public debt was within the permissible limits (65% of the GDP); the export turnover reached over $200 billion, up by 15%, disbursement of foreign investment is estimated at $15 billion, up by 18%. By the third quarter of 2017, the index of the stock market exceeded 800, the highest since 2008. Total capitalized value of capital market was 93% of the GDP. The country has been making endeavors to achieve the annual GDP growth rate of 6.5% – 7% for the period of 2016 – 2020.
Such positive results are importantly attributed to the public finance sector, given the enhanced stable and effective sources of revenue, as well as the development of the financial market.
In spite of the many existing difficulties and challenges, the Government of Viet Nam, in the spirit of being tectonic, i.e. constructive and facilitating, for development, taking drastic actions, serving the people and businesses, will continue the renovation, restructuring the economy, especially the financial sector, in the direction of improving efficiency, quality and competitiveness, and sustainable and inclusive growth.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The 24th APEC Finance Ministers’ Meeting is the most important event of the 2017 APEC Finance Ministers’ Process hosted by Viet Nam. I hope that the Ministers will continue their efforts of cooperation and policy coordination, and provide practical solutions for the effective implementation of policy priorities, addressing difficulties and challenges, for the objectives of stabilizing the financial system, sustainable development, to report to the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in 2017.
I wish the 2017 APEC Finance Ministers’ Meeting a great success, and would like to extend to you, the Ministers, Heads of delegations and all the delegates, the best wishes of good health.