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Bui Thanh Son, Permanent Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and head of the WEF ASEAN 2018’s organising board, writes about the importance of this event to Vietnam’s image in the international community and the great opportunities ahead.
he World Economic Forum on ASEAN 2018 (WEF ASEAN 2018), which will be organised in Hanoi during September 11-13, is one of the country’s biggest multilateral external activities this year, with the participation of top government officials of many ASEAN nations, major international organisations, nearly 1,000 leaders of high-profile corporations in the ASEAN and the world, as well as hundreds of foreign journalists.
At this large scale, making WEF ASEAN 2018 a major success has been deemed a key goal in Vietnam’s external activities in 2018, contributing to the concretisation of the policy of the Party and the state on improving the quality and effectiveness of Vietnam’s multilateral diplomatic policy, and also contributing to the construction of the ASEAN Community, further enhancing Vietnam’s status in the regional and international arena.
Vietnam as a reliable and prioritised partner to WEF
Since Vietnam and the WEF began their co-operation in 1989, the latter has always been considered by the former as an important partner. The WEF has contributed to the country’s socioeconomic development and international integration.
Vietnam has always attached great importance to co-operation with the WEF, with its active contributions and initiatives to this high-profile forum. In 2010, as chair of the ASEAN, Vietnam successfully organised the WEF on East Asia, the predecessor of the WEF ASEAN event. In 2016, under Vietnam’s initiative, the WEF-Mekong Conference was organised in Hanoi for the first time, in order to promote and connect the Mekong region with major companies in the world.
Vietnam is now actively partaking in WEF initiatives and activities in many sectors such as agriculture, commerce, infrastructure, and IT, with a view to approaching and increasing co-operation with global groups to expand its markets and attract investment.
Vietnam is the sole Southeast Asian nation with which the WEF has signed and implemented a co-operation deal under the public-private partnership format. As part of this important deal, the WEF provides support and consultancy to Vietnam on improving its capacity to join the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The WEF holds that the successful implementation of this deal with Vietnam will be an example for the forum to expand this co-operation model to other regional nations.
|WEF ASEAN 2018 will offer vast opportunities for Vietnam to boost co-operation with regional and global partners|
Focus for Vietnam’s external activities in 2018
WEF ASEAN 2018 takes place amidst a boost in the development of the ASEAN Community and a surge in complicated developments in the region and the world, especially considering the deeper impacts of Industry 4.0.
That is why WEF ASEAN 2018’s theme of “ASEAN 4.0: Entrepreneurship and the Fourth Industrial Revolution” has received the thumbs-up from politicians, businesses, and international partners, especially in ASEAN nations. It is because the theme suits global development trends, reflecting the shared interests of ASEAN member states and the whole region. It also complements the common ASEAN tagline of “The resilient and innovative ASEAN” for 2018.
Being the host and co-organiser of WEF ASEAN 2018, we have put a Vietnamese stamp on the event by adding the Industry 4.0 issue to the theme, and we have also put issues that Vietnam and other ASEAN member states are interested in on the agenda, such as startups and innovation, infrastructure and smart urban development, labour and employment in Industry 4.0, human resources development, and high-tech agriculture.
With these topics, WEF ASEAN 2018 is a high-profile forum used by nations’ leaders and the domestic and foreign business community to gain an insight into the impacts of Industry 4.0 on ASEAN nations and the entire region, especially when it comes to businesses and people.
Based on this foundation, they can share ideas, visions, orientations, and policies with one another, with a view to tapping into the potential, creativity, and dynamism of enterprises and people preparing for Industry 4.0, enhancing the self-reliance and maintaining the dynamic development of ASEAN nations. This will contribute to boosting the development of the ASEAN Community, with a focus laid on the interests of people.
It is not incidental that WEF ASEAN 2018 attracts the participation of leaders from many nations and global corporations, as well as the WEF’s top leaders. This not only demonstrates that the theme and content of WEF ASEAN 2018 meet the common interests of the region and the world, but also affirms the important role and ever-increasing status of Vietnam within the ASEAN, the region, and the world, especially after the country successfully organised APEC 2017.
WEF ASEAN 2018 contributes to expanding and deepening Vietnam’s relations with regional nations in a stable and effective manner. During the event, there will likely be meetings and official visits by top leaders of regional nations to Vietnam, aiming to further increase the bilateral relations between Vietnam and these nations, as well as to increase the co-operation between these nations with Vietnam in solving regional and international issues of mutual concern.
With the participation of nearly 1,000 leaders of international businesses, WEF ASEAN 2018 offers great opportunities for Vietnam to promote its image and people as being innovative and dynamic and to send a strong message to the international business community that Vietnam will continue its comprehensive renovation process, with a focus laid on economic restructuring and renewal of the growth model, construction of a facilitating government, improvement of the domestic business climate, encouragement of startups, and promotion of creativity and innovation.
The event will include many activities joined by Vietnamese localities and enterprises, such as a forum on innovative startups themed “ASEAN 4.0 for People,” the Vietnam Business Summit, and activities on promoting Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Danang, and Quang Ninh.
These activities will benefit localities, ministries, sectors, agencies, as well as businesses, as they will create opportunities for business co-operation with global corporations which are strong in finance, technology, and market. These groups can transfer technology, help expand export markets, and develop Vietnam’s tourism in the era of Industry 4.0.
WEF ASEAN 2018 also offers a good opportunity for exchanging novel ideas and gaining a better understanding of the development trends in the region and the world, especially the development trend of Industry 4.0. This will also aim to serve the implementation of the country’s socioeconomic development plans and strategies, as well as the business plans and strategies of Vietnamese businesses.
In addition, WEF ASEAN 2018 is also a festival for ASEAN nations. With Vietnam’s efforts in co-ordination, the event will earmark spaces for ASEAN nations to promote themselves, showing off a message about a common ASEAN house with many cultures and people, full of solidarity, with a shared vision and shared identity.
This is a novel and unique trait that has never been seen in previous WEF events.
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