In the context of the emergence of regional economic blocs in the world and the increasing interdependence of Asia-Pacific economies, the birth of APEC or Asia- Pacific Economic Cooperation is predictable. APEC acts as an open forum for countries in Pacific Rim to get together and aim at the ultimate goal of boosting economic growth, cooperation, trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region.
Established in 1989 with 12 members, APEC has expanded into the home to 21 members with the population accounting for 40% of the world’s and the total GDP outweighing that of the remaining countries in the world. Different from other multilateral trade bodies, APEC is the only one that operates on the basis of non-binding commitments, open dialogue and equal respect for the perspectives of all members. APEC is outstanding with no treaty obligation required, operation directions created on consensus mechanism and commitments assumed on a voluntary basis.
Vietnam was officially accepted as a member of APEC since 1998 and 8 years later, it was the host economy for APEC 2006. 12 years is not a long period of time but enough for Vietnam and APEC to have build up and develop their investment, trade and tourism ties. Statistics seem to speak for itself: from 1998 to 2006, capital flows of APEC members towards Vietnam reached roughly US $49,5 billion with 6527 projects being in operation, making up 83% of total FDI projects and 69,2% of total FDI capital in the country. Moreover, APEC members also were top investors in Vietnam when 10 of them went into top 15 major investors in Vietnam. Until now, Japan, a key member of APEC and APEC are Vietnam’s biggest bilateral and multilateral ODA donors.
This capital support has substantially helped Vietnam to improve its weak infrastructure and balance the deficit in budget spending. Apart from the financial support, APEC has also assisted Vietnam in policy making through exchanging information and experience with other members in open dialogues and regular contacts. Thanks to the participation in APEC, Vietnam has chance to proactively join in solving regional and international issues, accelerating the process of integration into the world economy of the country.
Vietnam also finds it easier to call for assistance as well as for cooperation from other partners. As a member of APEC, Vietnam gradually upholds its position on the international arena with the successful hosting of APEC 2006 being the most marked turning point. The success of APEC 2010 in Japan once again proves the objective of APEC to build a prosperous, peaceful and stable APEC community and promises a promising scenario for Vietnam.