APEC SOM3 kicks off in Ho Chi Minh City

An overview of the third APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting (Source: VNA)

HCM City
– The third Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM3) of the Asia-Pacific Economic
Cooperation (APEC) began in Ho Chi Minh City on August 29, expected to lay the crucial
groundwork for the APEC Leaders’ Week slated in November in Da Nang city.

In his opening remarks, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son, APEC 2017 SOM Chair, highlighted
the strong outlook for the Asia-Pacific, as he heard at the recent third
meeting of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC3).

“But this bright prospect of growth, and also that of trade, hinges on the
policy choices and actions by economies,” he said.

As suggested at ABAC3, the main reasons for global trade declaration include,
among others, weak investment, slower trade liberalisation and reduced
formation of cross-border production chains, Son said.

He, therefore, underscored the need to look carefully into the APEC work to see
what can be done.

APEC has done quite well so far, particularly with major actions committed by
trade ministers, the APEC SOM 2017 Chair said, noting that progress has been
made in all committees, working group and sub-fora, as well as in a number of
new initiatives.

To date, over 200 meetings have been held across the numerous workstream of
APEC. Over the past ten days alone, a series of almost 80 meetings have been
organised, including many significant, high-level events, he said.

“The Food Security Week in Can Tho which concluded with the High-Level Policy
Dialogue on Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture in response to Climate
Change produced important results, including the Can Tho Statement and two
Action Plans on Food Security and on Rural-Urban Development,” he said.

“The High-Level Meeting on Health and the Economy, with the participation of
many Health Ministers, sought ways to boost patient-first investment and build
capacity for healthcare financing and access in the region, for the ultimate
aim of ensuring a healthy and productive workforce,” Son added.

This SOM 3 is expected to cover a lot of work, including to review the work of
the Economic Committee (EC), the Committee on Trade and Investment (CTI), the
APEC Steering Committee on Economic and Technical Cooperation (SCE), and the
Budget and Management Committee (BMC), and build on the inter-sessional work to
finalise the proposed outcome documents for potential submission to the
ministers and leaders, he said.

According to Son, host Vietnam, will also update APEC member economies on the
preparations for the APEC Leaders’ Week in the central city of Da Nang, as well
as major events in the lead up, including the Women and the Economy Forum and
the SME Ministerial Meeting.

The SOM 2017 Chair expressed his belief that with their
combined wisdom and hard work, good will and determination, the APEC economies
will secure good outcomes of this meeting and lay the crucial groundwork for a
successful Leaders’ week.

The two-day meeting will look into APEC committees’ work in support of the APEC
2017 priorities and SOM-level issues.

The delegates will also discuss next steps to develop the APEC Post-2020
Vision, including the possibility of a Leaders’ statement on APEC Toward 2020
and Beyond.-VNA

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