Towards a more prosperous global economy

Update: 14:03 | 23/11/2017
In order to reinforce the three pillars-institutional connectivity, people-to-people connectivity,  physical connectivity-with the role of APEC host 2017, Viet Nam has chaired meetings of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) and carried out activities according to the year’s orientation, so as to maintain the development of the regional economy and guarantee the benefits for all.
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Advancing towards FTAAP

During the first ABAC’s meeting in Thailand (19-23 February, 2017), many important issues were discussed such as regional economic integration, continuation of formulating initiatives and recommendations for supporting WTO and anti-protectionism; promotion of the formation of the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP); promotion of the agenda on services; and continuation of trade and investment liberalization and facilitation.

towards a more prosperous global economy
Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang meeting with leaders of Viet Nam’s APEC Business Advisory Council in September 2017.

For sustainable development, ABAC proposed the strengthening of security and sustainable energy; promotion of food security; sustainable exploitation of natural resources; building of sustainable and inclusive community; formulation of coordination policy among health, financial and economic ministries to ensure the building of a healthy workforce.

In order to support micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and promote the operation of enterprises, ABAC discussed issues including: creating favourable conditions for MSMEs to participate in international market and global value chains; promoting the development of human resources in the digital era; facilitating women’s participation in economic activities.

In financial and economic cooperation, ABAC has promoted infrastructure investment, developed a structural reform program and created a favorable investment environment. It has also expanded and coordinated with global connectivity infrastructure and facilitated MSMEs’ access to capital sources.

In the face of increasing anti-globalization and protectionism, ABAC continues to recommend APEC support trade liberalization and multilateral trading systems, implement the Bogor Goals, and advance towards FTAAP. ABAC also holds that APEC should accelerate structural reform to promote growth, especially focusing on inclusive development, thus facilitating MSMEs’ connectivity with the global value chain. ABAC and the business community should coordinate their actions with the governments to overcome negative impacts caused by trade liberalization and globalization.

Adjustment to catch up with reality

Through ABAC Council meetings, ABAC members have proposed recommendations on enterprises’ priorities to APEC Trade Ministers. Accordingly, the key message is that APEC should continue the process of globalization and make it more effective.

towards a more prosperous global economy
2017 ABAC Chairman Hoang Van Dzung.

The recommendations focus on the benefits of liberalization and the development of trade in services, as well as the minimization of non-tariff barriers. ABAC also highlights WTO‘s importance and values the ambitious and comprehensive trade agreement, including the ultimate goal of FTAAP. Besides, ABAC notes that a stronger supply chain will create better chances to realize the great potentials of the digital economy. ABAC also emphasized the need for polices that assist small enterprises and women entrepreneurs in order to make it easier for them… to participate in the global market.

Protectionism has exerted negative impacts on employment, food security and people’s livelihood. Leaders should remove barriers to trade, investment and resolutely oppose the trend of anti-globalization. ABAC encourages parties in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement to firmly hold their motivations and cope with the challenge to bring the Agreement into force and maintain its high-quality results. At the same time, it also calls for parties in the Agreement of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) to conclude the negotiation by the end of the year, ensuring comprehensive, high-quality and mutual benefits.

With an increase in unemployment, some people raised concerns over trade liberation. However, the reality of this economic turmoil shows that technological change and other factors have played a greater role.

ABAC also recognizes that there are underlying challenges, therefore workers and enterprises should make adjustments to catch up with the new reality-more efforts are needed to face up with challenges to pursue the goal of sustainable and inclusive growth. Governments and businesses play a complementary role in the globalization effort. It is equally necessary to have better explanation and dissemination on the benefits that free trade brings about to ensure that the benefits of globalization are more widely shared. Economies should develop internal policies that help workers adapt to the new situation through economic or structural reform, education and skills training, and/or social security networks.

Upholding the banner of globalization

Whether we like it or not, globalization is an objective trend reflecting the law of comparative advantages, the needs for expanding exchanging market of goods, and services and investment capitals. In additions, the explosion of IT with the 4.0 Industrial Revolution is accelerating the development of the Internet of Things. In a materialistic world, no economy can produce everything at a low price. In that context, it would be appropriate if APEC would uphold the banner of globalization, regionalization, promotion of cross-border trade and investment for the benefits of all economies and consumers. One of the methods to accomplish this is to strive to achieve the Bogor Goals on time by 2020.

This is a challenging time for trade liberalization, but we must not give up the core values as well as the aspiration of APEC economies. This is the time to jointly promote the regional economic integration. Only by doing so can we achieve a sustainable, inclusive, peaceful and more prosperous global economy.

Hoang Van Dzung

2017 ABAC Chairman

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