12:06 | 25/02/2017 Cooperation
The first APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM 1) opened in Nha Trang city on February 23 with 430 delegates participating in 11 activities of eight committees, working groups and forums.
They included meetings of the Committee on Trade and Investment (CTI), the Competition Policy and Law Group (CPLG), the Sub-Committee on Customs Procedures (SCCP), the Group of Services (GOS), the Investment Experts' Group (IEG), the Tourism Working Group (TWG), the Health Working Group (HWG) and the Electronic Commerce Steering Group (ECSG).
The TWG convened a meeting of its Steering Committee discussing orientations and measures to promote regional economics via sustainable tourism.
It also held a workshop on sustainable tourism, during which Vice Deputy Director General of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism Ha Van Sieu affirmed that the Asian – Pacific region has become a magnet for international and regional tourists.
In 2015, the region welcomed 396 million arrivals, accounting for 33% of the world’s total holiday-makers, generating jobs for 47.9 labourers. APEC sets out to welcome 800 million international visitors by 2025, according to Sieu.
The event was initiated by Vietnam to prepare for a policy high-level roundtable conference on sustainable tourism, scheduled to take place in Ha Long city in June, Sieu said.
A conference on APEC policies on support industries also opened on the day as part of activities to implement the initiative to develop APEC support industry initiated by Vietnam and co-chaired by the country and a number of APEC members.
The initiative aims to increase the exchange of experiences towards improving and modernizing the support industry of APEC member economies. Opinions of domestic and foreign experts at the event will serve as references for building a document on APEC models in the industry that is scheduled to be approved within 2017.
The same day, a seminar discussing the promotion of products that contribute to sustainable and inclusive growth through rural development and poverty reduction concluded, with many recommendations expected to be discussed at the APEC Foreign Ministers and Economic Chiefs in November in Da Nang city.
The GOS hosted a Public-Private Dialogue on Services, during which participants shared experience and viewpoints on ways to strengthen service cooperation as well as measures to remove policy obstacles hindering the growth of regional service providers, especially in distribution, transportation and logistics.
APEC leaders endorsed the APEC service cooperation framework in 2015 and APEC Services Competitiveness Roadmap (ASCR) in 2016 with a view to creating a fair and transparent service environment in the region until 2025 and over 6.8 percent service growth.
Meanwhile, the HWG convened its first working day, reviewing its performance in 2016, considering priorities for major events in 2017 and preparing an agenda for a high-level dialogue on health and economics slated for August in Ho Chi Minh City.
Also opening discussion on the day, the IEG focused on business issues and new-generation investments, including sustainable and inclusive investments.
The SCCP officials concluded their meeting in conjunction with the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement officially taking effect. The pact was ratified by two thirds of the WTO members on February 22.
The sub-committee reached an agreement on their 2017 working agenda.
The ECSG’s Meeting and the CPLG’s workshop on economics in competition policy also completed their agendas.
Results of the two functions will be submitted to the two bodies’ plenary sessions scheduled for February 24.
On the sidelines of the meetings, the APEC Secretariat also organised its annual training on project management to improve capacity of APEC member economies, particularly the developing ones.