Your Excellency Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, Chair of APEC 2021,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I wish to express my appreciation for Prime Minister Ardern’s initiative in organizing this important Retreat. The world today stands at a turning point, marked by the comprehensive and fundamental changes to everyday life, the economy and society given the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic - the largest health crisis in many decades. This is the time for us to overcome differences and join hands to get through the crisis, restore stability to our people’s life, revive the world economy and lead it into a trajectory of sustainable and inclusive development.
The reality of responding to the far-reaching implications of the pandemic over the past year has given us many precious lessons. Here I just want to name a few. First, adequate public awareness of the pandemic and the people’s consensus and support, together with a holistic, scientific, multilateral and inclusive approach, are always of primary importance, for the world would remain unsafe until every single economy or every single person is safe. Second, the prospect for economic recovery largely depends on the timely, fair and equal access to affordable vaccines and an effective vaccination program using quality vaccines. Third, capitalizing on new technologies and digital transformation serve as important foundations for the effective control of the pandemic and sustainable development.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The Covid-19 pandemic is still evolving with complexities while the endurance of the people and businesses has its limit. Poverty is resurgent, unemployment is on the rise, and social inequality is worsening. Racing against time, we must take bolder actions, and engage in more substantive and effective cooperation.
First, as APEC is home to many of the world’s top vaccine production and supply centers, we need to step up regional cooperation in technology transfer, capacity building for research, and production of vaccines. Accordingly, we should look into the possibility of establishing a temporary APEC waiver of certain intellectual property protections on Covid-19 vaccines.
Second, we should develop an APEC guideline on sustaining supply chains during emergencies to maintain the flow of our economies and prevent disruptions of regional and global supply chains as was the case in the past.
Third, with the mantra of “leaving no one behind”, APEC needs to quickly implement cooperation programs and policy coordination on (i) assisting disadvantaged and vulnerable groups, (ii) improving the resilience and adaptability of businesses, especially MSMEs, to create more jobs and income, and (iii) up-skilling and re-skilling the workforce, and reducing the digital gap between urban and rural areas, and among the people.
We support the efforts made by APEC member economies to fight the pandemic, step up cooperation for economic recovery and promote exchange activities in culture, tourism and sports, among others. On that note, we welcome and extend our best wishes for the success of upcoming major sports events, including the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, and the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Vietnam is making every effort to implement the dual goal of both combating the pandemic and maintaining economic growth. This policy has received the broad support and joint actions of the public. Accordingly, we have been able to maintain positive economic growth, social stability and the people’s livelihood. Let me take this opportunity to express our sincere gratitude for the invaluable assistance extended by many APEC member economies thus far.
Having experienced many vicissitudes in history, the Vietnamese people are well aware of the values of solidarity and cooperation. This is why Vietnam always attaches great importance to APEC cooperation. We will continue to work closely with other members to promote cooperation in the APEC spirit of “Fight the Pandemic, Join, Work, Grow. Together” , and towards a brighter future for all of us. I fully agree with the adoption of the Retreat's Joint Statement.
My best wishes go out to my colleagues, the leaders of APEC.
Tēnā koutou, Ka kite anō!
Thank you very much.