Honorable President of the Viet Nam Women's Union Ha Thi Khiet, distinguished women leaders from each economy and honorable guests,

It is a great honor for me to make a speech to the distinguished delegates and guests here this morning. As the chair-person of the 10th APEC-WLN Meeting held in Daegu, Korea in August 2005, I sincerely hope that the 11th APEC-WLN Meeting hosted by the Vietnamese government and the Viet Nam Women's Union will be a great success. I also thank the host for inviting me to this beautiful city of Hanoi and offering your warm welcome and hospitality.


The Asia-Pacific region accounts for 57% of the global GDP and 46% of international trade, and still attains an annual growth rate of 5%, leading the global economy. For the Asia-Pacific region to realize co-prosperity and sustainable growth based o­n time-honored histories, diverse cultures and rich human and physical resources, the economies in the region should further strengthen economic cooperation. Also, women should participate in economic activities more positively.


Particularly, Viet Nam, the host of the 11th APEC-WLN Meeting, privatized state enterprises through doi moi, the Vietnamese renovation plan aimed at introducing market economy in the 1980's, and has achieved an annual economic growth of 7 to 8% in recent years.


Viet Nam has contributed to expanding women's positive participation in social activities and encouraged more women to be involved in political and social activities, leading them to fill 27% of parliamentary seats and 12.5% of cabinet ministerial seats. Most typically, the 11-million-member Viet Nam Women's Union led by President Ha Thi Khiet has played an essential role in the Vietnamese economy by helping Vietnamese women uplift their status and develop their capability.


Distinguished guests,


For the economies in the Asia-Pacific region including Viet Nam to achieve steady growth, women who think creatively and have high levels of cultural sensitivity are bound to play bigger roles.


The keyword in the 21st century global economy is "Women." It is no exaggeration to say that the future of the global economy will be determined by women's participation in economic activities and that the competitiveness of each economy will be proportionate to the degree of women's participation in social activities and to the utilization of woman manpower.

At the 10th APEC-WLN Meeting held in Daegu last year, under the theme "Prosperity of Women's Enterprises through Innovation: New Visions for Women Entrepreneurs, "500 participants fromeconomies, including women entrepreneurs, representatives of associations and academia, shared each economy's support policies and experiences in an effort to accelerate the growth of women's enterprises and undertook common tasks to nurture the next-generation women enterprises. In addition, detailed action plans including the establishment of the APEC-WLN secretariat were discussed to actively pursue the common tasks.


For the past 10 years, the Asia-Pacific region has witnessed women's status improving steadily thanks to the dedicated efforts by the women leaders of the member economies who are here today.  The establishment of enterprises by women and the training and empowerment of women entrepreneurs have become central elements in guiding each economy's important economic policies.


The theme of the present conference, "Toward a Dynamic Community: Enhancement of Competitiveness of Women Enterprises for Sustainable Development and Prosperity," seems to be an appropriate and timely agenda item that can help reinforce ICT competence to support women entrepreneurs in the region and change unreasonable and discriminating corporate environments into a women-friendly environment through legal and policy considerations designed to activate the establishment of women enterprises. This is also a task we must carry out to promote the sustainable growth of women enterprises.


The WLN has reached a point where it needs to reflect o­n what it has achieved for the past 10 years and brace itself up for the next 10 years. Toward this end, sharing diverse policies and business success stories of each economy, the WLN needs to establish more cooperative networks in each business area beyond regional boundaries, acting as a messenger for the increase and growth of women enterprises in the new era.


Additionally, the WLN needs to positively reflect the pending issues discussed at this meeting in APEC policy recommendations and continuously evaluate and pursue active performances and implementations from a transnational viewpoint.


I assure you that our efforts will provide significant lessons and models to women leaders not o­nly in the APEC region but also in Europe, Africa and other countries and regions of the world. And I sincerely hope that the WLN will continue to play a bridging role to help women leaders establish friendly relations and achieve success, transcending national, ethnic and cultural boundaries.


I would like to renew my heartfelt gratitude to the Viet Nam Women's Union for hosting this conference in this beautiful city of Hanoi, and all those who have dedicated themselves to making the conference a success. I wish the distinguished delegates and guests the best of luck and hope you will have a delightful and memorable stay in Viet Nam.


Thank you.