On 15 May 2017, at the Marriott Hotel (Ha Noi), the 24th General Meeting of the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC) was held under the theme of “Vision for Asia- Pacific Partnership in the 21st century”. The meeting was co-organized by Viet Nam National Committee for Pacific Economic Cooperation (VNCPEC) and PECC. Some 200 delegates representing 26 PECC member committees, APEC Senior Officials, leaders of Ministries and research institutes in Viet Nam as well as some international and regional organizations attended the conference. Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh, Chairman of the APEC National Committee 2017, attended and delivered a keynote speech.
This is the first time Viet Nam hosted a PECC General Meeting. With the attendance from leading scholars, experts, business representatives and reputable officials in the region and international community, the meeting aimed at exchanging and coordinating policies on issues that have long-term impacts on the Asia-Pacific future, including growth, economic integration and the handling of new challenges posing to the region.
In his keynote address, Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh emphasized that the global economic power is shifting to Asia – Pacific, with emerging economies in the region expected to drive regional and global growth. The outlook for our region remains robust – the strongest in the world. However, how much we will achieve depends on how effectively we address three “baskets” of challenges facing the region, both immediate and long-term. The first are sluggish productivity, rising inequality within and among economies, demographic challenges, including aging population, poverty, urbanization, and climate change. The second is whether we are ready for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The third are the lingering risks of geopolitical conflicts and the lack of a responsive regional governance.
Deputy Prime Minister affirmed that, lying at the heart of the Asia-Pacific, Viet Nam has been pursuing comprehensive renovation, extensive international integration and proactive multilateral diplomacy. The region has always been a corner-stone of our foreign policy. The region’s future is the future of Viet Nam. The Deputy Prime Minister also expressed his belief that the recommendations and insights from the 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.
After the opening session, four sessions were held, discussing the prospects for Asia-Pacific economic growth and linkages, new drivers for growth and economic integration, Asia-Pacific on digital/internet economy and prospects for Asia-Pacific partnership.
Pascal Lamy delivered his first keynote to the PECC as president of the French, Pacific territories, comity to the PECC. In his speech on the topic of “The new wold of trade”, he underlined the transformations that are occurring nowadays in the field of trade, calling for reducing differences in domestic regulations and for increasing public support for openness with adequate social policies. In conclusion, he invited his PECC colleagues to reflect on an agenda on a “New world of trade” and proposed PECC to work jointly with APEC on this topic.
Delegates shared the assessment that the economic fundamentals and the structure of trade and investment will continue to change dramatically in both global and regional scale; emphasized the need for a further cooperation; sought new motivations for trade liberalization, regional integration, inclusive, sustainable and innovative growth; highlighted the role of MSMEs, services and investment; opportunities and potentials of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the digital economy; and opportunities and challenges for the Asia-Pacific partnership…
Delegates also discussed new trends in the third wave of globalization in the digital age, where IT platform leads to continuing changes. In addition, data and information have become important resources and drivers for economic growth. Delegates also assessed that, thanks to the principles of mutual benefit and flexible dialogue mechanism, APEC and PECC provided a framework for economies in the region to discuss new areas of cooperation.
The meeting also assessed that Asia – Pacific is at a critical stage of development with unpredictable opportunities and challenges, and building a new vision for future cooperation is essential. In the context of rapid changes taking place with the digital revolution, Asia-Pacific can only affirm its global leadership role when economies and regional cooperative mechanisms tighten their cooperation to enhance adaptability and effective cooperation. The future of the region depends on the prospect of existing and emerging regional economic cooperation mechanisms and linkages. Therefore, fostering greater economic integration, connectivity and inclusive and innovative growth will be indispensable to regional cooperation in the coming years.
The outcomes of the Meeting, especially the recommendations on the role, cooperation prospects and long-term direction of the region, will greatly contribute to the joint effort to shape the future of the Asia- Pacific partnership in the coming decades.