Sunday, 19 Nov 2017

Danang Declaration on APEC: The importance of Multilateralism

Updated at Sunday, 12 Nov 2017, 11:28
The Hanoitimes - The two-day gathering of the leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) closed on Saturday afternoon with a declaration of collective support for free trade and inclusive economic growth.
The heads of the 21 member states issued Saturday the "Danang Declaration," which reflected the U.S President Donald Trump's demand to address "unfair trade practices," such as subsidies, and called for "full implementation" of the rules set by the World Trade Organization, which Mr. Trump said had never been achieved.
21 leaders of APEC member economies.
21 leaders of APEC member economies.
But the statement basically articulated strong collective support for a "multilateral trade system," which showed a preference among other member states for broader trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Chinese-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. "The Japanese government believes that the final statement's strong language promoting the multilateral trade system was a very significant achievement," an official at the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

As such, APEC determines to take bolder and sustained collective actions to inject new dynamism into APEC cooperation to promote sustainable, innovative and inclusive growth, deepen regional economic integration, realize the full potential of the business sector, particularly micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), and enhance food security and sustainable agriculture. A quarter-century after the first APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting, APEC has proven to be the premier economic forum in the Asia-Pacific, a driver of economic growth and integration, an incubator of ideas for future economic cooperation, a coordinating mechanism of trade agreements, and a global leader in addressing pressing problems. For nearly three decades, APEC has contributed to sustaining growth and advancing economic integration in the Asia- Pacific region, a process that has created millions of jobs and lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty.

In the Danang Declaration, APEC recommits to a common purpose – to foster a shared future of a peaceful, stable, dynamic, inter-connected and prosperous Asia-Pacific community; support for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as a framework for inclusive growth. With this being said, APEC reaffirms long-standing commitment to mission of supporting sustainable economic growth and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region. Recognizing the significant challenges our economies face, we pledge to work together and take the following actions: Promoting innovative growth, inclusion and sustainable employment; reaffirming aspirations towards balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative, and secure growth in the APEC region through monetary, fiscal and structural policies, individually and collectively, and highlight the importance of achieving quality growth.

APEC underscores that structural reform, including competition policy, ease of doing business, regulatory reform, strengthening economic and legal infrastructure, corporate and public sector governance, and promoting human capital development, is key to balanced, sustainable, innovative and inclusive growth, job creation, productivity and competitiveness. On the other hand, APEC emphasizes the importance of innovation, science and technology as key drivers for economic growth and international trade and investment in the APEC region, recognizing the vital importance of continuing to work for quality and equitable education to enable people of all ages to meet the challenges of rapid changes in today’s world. 

Recognizing new opportunities and emerging challenges presented by globalization and digital transformation, APEC resolves to advance economic, financial and social inclusion, with a vision to build an inclusive, accessible, sustainable, healthy and resilient APEC community by 2030, consistent with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 

APEC also is committed to attaining the Bogor Goals of free and open trade and investment in the Asia- Pacific region. As such, APEC member economies will accelerate efforts to address WTO-inconsistent barriers to trade and investment and take concrete actions towards the achievement of the Bogor Goals by 2020. 

Also in Danang Declaration, APEC Economic Leaders thanks Viet Nam for its leadership this year, eleven years after its first hosting of APEC, in advancing the APEC process built on the vision and work of the previous APEC hosts, and look forward to meeting again in Papua New Guinea in 2018.
Ngoc Thuy
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