APEC 2017 Informal Senior Officials' Meeting (iSOM) - Blog 1

December 12, 2016

APEC 2017 Informal Senior Officials' Meeting
Blog 1

Hanoi, Vietnam
Dec 7, 2016
Kristine Yang
My first journey to Hanoi begin from the bright, spacious and well organized arrivals hall at Noi Bai International Airport. In operation for just two year since the end of 2014, this impressive airport will over the coming year welcome hundreds and thousands of meeting delegates and tourists participating in the many meetings associated with the APEC Vietnam Year. Even without the spotlight of the TPP, it will provide an immediate and prominent welcome mat for the "coming-out" stage for this rapidly growing country. 
This is the second time in 10 years that Vietnam will have chaired APEC - on a par with Peru chairing this year. When Vietnam hosted APEC last time in 2006, its GDP was just about $66 billion and GDP per capita was about $796. Today, both have tripled - GDP to $193.6 billion and per capita income to $2,111 in 2015. And the evidence of this growth is everywhere - from the many construction sites to international brands seen on the street. That is why road traffic is always busy, especially in peak hours.Tuesday night was even worse because everybody was rushing home for the football match between Vietnam and Indonesia in the ASEAN Football Federation Cup. We have no doubt on their enthusiasm and patriotism.
A great relief, the transition from the airport to the hotel was trouble-free.. The organizer kindly arranged shuttle buses both between the airport and delegates' hotel, and between the hotel and the National Convention Centre, where the informal Senior Officials' Meeting (iSOM)  will take place. Not everyone speaks fluent English but the young volunteers from universities are absolutely helpful. 
Being aware of the importance of APEC for Vietnam, the country has been preparing for it since 2013. It will host some 200 meetings, including 20 ministry level events. The symposium on Wednesday (which I will address more fully in my next blog discussed the priorities for APEC 2017, with four themes: 1. Creating new dynamism, fostering a shared future; 2. Greater regional economic integration; 3. Enhanced competitiveness and innovation of MSMEs in the digital age; 4. Food security and climate change. 
Look forward to it. 
Duty-free-shop at the arrivals hall in the airport
Street in Hanoi

Beautiful sunset of the city
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