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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     14-15 November  2011

Vietnam courts US (TPP) and China at the same time at APEC summit

HONOLULU — Viet Nam would continue making active contributions to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations in keeping with its commitment to international integration, the country, said President Truong Tan Sang at a summit of TPP members in Honolulu, Hawaii on 12 November 2011.

He suggested that TPP members look towards a balanced agreement that meets the sustainable development goals of all participating countries, pays due attention to the "for the development" principle and takes into account the development gap and diversity of the members.

On the same day, on the sidelines of the APEC Leaders' Week, President Sang met separately with Chinese Party General Secretary and State President Hu Jintao, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

While meeting with Chinese Party General Secretary and State President Hu Jintao, President Sang emphasised Viet Nam's strategic and consistent policy of continuously consolidating and strengthening its friendship with China.

The Chinese leader affirmed that his Party, State and Government attached special importance to relations with Viet Nam and were eager to move the two countries' strategic partnership to a new height.

Applauding Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong's recent visit to China, the two sides agreed to increase the frequency of visits by high-ranking leaders as well as boost economic-trade co-operation as effectively and practically as possible.

The two nations will also organise more people-to-people exchanges at both central and local levels, especially trips that involve socio-political organisations and youth initiatives.

Regarding the East Sea issue, the two leaders agreed to seek a satisfactory solution for this issue through peaceful negotiations.

During this process, President Sang stated that the two sides should respect the basic principles and international laws guiding the settlement of sea-related issues, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the Declaration on Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC).

The two leaders agreed to remain in close communication for the duration of this APEC meeting in an attempt to ensure that the legitimate interests of developing countries were represented in regional and global economic policy.

At the meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, the two sides expressed joy over the solid development of the Viet Nam-Russia strategic partnership in recent years.

President Sang said that great potential for co-operation still exists and encouraged both ministries to effectively implement agreements reached by the high-ranking leaders and actively seek practical measures to boost bilateral ties.

He suggested the Russian side speed up progress on its large-scale projects in Viet Nam, especially in the energy and military sectors.
The two sides should work together to make the Ninh Thuan 1 nuclear power plant a symbol of the new friendship and co-operation between the two countries, he stressed. The two sides exchanged views on regional and international issues of common concern.

Talking with the Australian Prime Minister, President Sang said he was pleased with the development of bilateral ties up to the present, especially in investment, trade, education-training, defence-security, and tourism.

He suggested the two countries' leaders continue to have bilateral exchanges on the sidelines of international conferences and that they should encourage ministries and agencies to find practical mechanisms to boost ties, he added.

PM Julia Gillard affirmed the Australian Government's support for Viet Nam 's effective renewal and reform efforts, saying that Australia is pleased to aid the country's development projects.

The two sides agreed to continue close and effective co-ordination at regional and international forums, especially at ASEAN conferences, the East Asian Summit (EAS) and the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC).

Earlier that day, President Sang attended the Viet Nam-US Business Forum and Dialogue, which was co-organised by the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the University of Hawaii. The forum drew the participation of representatives from nearly 200 American and Vietnamese businesses.

On the occasion, the President witnessed the signing of a technical assistance and MBA training agreement between the University of Hawaii and Hue University, as well as a similar agreement between the University of Hawaii and the Foreign Trade University of Viet Nam.

President Sang and his entourage also attended a banquet and an art performance hosted by the US President in honour of APEC leaders.

Business Summit
Sang attended the APEC Business Summit in Honolulu, Hawaii on Friday. As part of the APEC Summit Week, this annual event was the most important meeting of the Asia-Pacific business community and the first event with the participation of APEC economies' leaders.

Addressing the special luncheon, President Sang said that APEC was making an effort to enhance co-operation and regional economic connectivity, in addition to promoting economic recovery and sustainable development.

He stressed the necessity of maintaining macro-economic stability and improving competitiveness for those countries seeking to fully integrate into the regional and global markets, including Viet Nam.

He highlighted the role of the Asia-Pacific region and APEC in Viet Nam's development.

According to the President, the Asia-Pacific region provides the largest amount of official development assistance to Viet Nam. It accounts for 65 per cent of the total foreign investment, 60 per cent of the export and 80 per cent of the import values, and 75 per cent of the value of international tourism.

Viet Nam would continue to promote co-operation and regional economic connectivity in order to create a more favourable business and investment climate, not only for domestic businesses but also for foreign firms, he affirmed.

In turn, APEC businesses praised Viet Nam's significant achievements in its renewal process and its progress toward international integration.

They rearticulated their willingness to co-operate with Viet Nam, helping speed reform, institute the market economy, and develop human resources and infrastructure.
Earlier, President Sang met with Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, Peruvian President Ollanta Humala and leaders of 11 Pacific islands countries.

The leaders spoke highly of their fine relations with Viet Nam at the meeting, where they discussed measures to strengthen economic ties and boost trade partnerships.
President Sang and President Pinera witnessed the signing of the free trade agreement between the two countries.

President Sang and President Humala witnessed the signing of an agreement between the Vietnamese Finance Ministry and the Peruvian Economic and Financial Ministry on co-operation and mutual assistance between customs agencies.

Trans-Pacific trade
On Saturday, the leaders of Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Viet Nam jointly issued a statement regarding the broad outlines of a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.

TPP leaders endorsed the Trade Ministers' report on the TPP agreement on the same day.

"Our teams have held nine rounds of negotiations and we are pleased to report that they have established the broad outlines of a forward-thinking, transformative agreement that will further elevate our trade and investment relationships and create the foundation for a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific region. If pursued correctly, this agreement would support jobs, economic growth, and higher living standards in our countries," the report stated. The agreement included comprehensive market access, regional consensus, cross-cutting trade issues, new trade challenges and living agreement. These five elements are defining features of the deal and are expected to set a new standard for trade agreements in the future.

Economic ministers
Earlier on Friday, the 23rd APEC Foreign-Economic Ministerial Meeting took place within the framework of the APEC Summit Week.

Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh and Industry and Trade Minister Vu Huy Hoang led the Vietnamese delegation to the event.

Minh proposed building a sustainable regional structure in conformity with the changes and diversity of the region and effectively addressing security challenges to meet the common goals of peace, sustainability and development.

Ministers at the meeting discussed improving regional co-operation, boosting economic growth, creating favourable conditions for SME development, and coping with natural disasters in the future. The ministers held open talks with enterprises on matters of mutual interest.

At a session on environmental calamities, Minh said supported APEC's view that human safety should be a priority of the organisation's co-operative strategy, especially in coping with emergency situations.

The ministers adopted the meeting's declaration and six attached documents, as well as statements on the WTO, Doha negotiations, Asia-Pacific natural disasters, open management and economic growth.

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