Dear Delegates,
It is with great joy the women and the people of Vietnam welcome you to the 2006 APEC Year in Vietnam. Today, at the Hanoi International Conference Center, the Vietnam Women’s Union, in the capacity of Chairwomen of APEC Women Leaders’ Network, solemnly host the 11th APEC WLN Meeting.

On behalf of the Presidium of the VWU, I send the warmest greetings and best wishes of our leaders of the Party and State, the Vietnam Fatherland Front to therepresentatives of member organizations of the network, scholars, businesspeople of 21 Asian – Pacific economies, delegates of international organizations, and NGOs. We wish this impressive meeting great success.


Ladies and gentlemen!


2006, the year of APEC Vietnam, is the largest international event ever held in Vietnam and brings new opportunities to develop cooperative relations between Vietnam and member economies, thus helping Vietnam extend markets, accelerate our renovation course, and integrate into the world economy.


The VWU hosts the APEC WLN Meeting with the aim of sharing experiences among members of the network o­n developing business and enhancing economic empowerment for women. We especially want to address the difficulties facing women in general and women-owned enterprises in particular originating from the challenges of globalization and trade liberation. We hope to propose recommendations and measures to facilitate the development of women entrepreneurs in particular and women in general. The meeting is also targeted to build friendly relationships and cooperation among the women of 21 economies and to enhance the role of APEC women leaders in the process of economic development and gender equality improvement in all parts of society.


On this occasion, the VWU takes great pride in introducing to you all to the Vietnamese country and people, especially the image, the role and the contributions of Vietnamese women in the course of national construction, defense and development, and, especially, the remarkable contributions of women entrepreneurs. As is true in other nations, in Vietnam doing business is difficult, but women have brought into full play their tradition of hard-worki, dynamism and creativeness in production and business. Women-managed enterprises have an important role in job creation, making contributions to the remarkable decrease in the rate of unemployment, and to the social stability and security in Vietnam.


Vietnamese women take pride in being side by side with other women in leading positions from 21 Asian – Pacific economies at this meeting today. The meeting will include sub-themes from three perspectives: Social, Economic, and Organizational, with meetings and seminars promoting the advancement and development of women in the integration progress. With the intelligence of the team and the responsibility of members, it is in our hope that we will reach the expected result, the release of a Statement/Recommendation to be submitted to the Ministerial Meeting o­n Small and Medium Enterprises that takes place from September 25th – 29th, 2006.


After the 11th APEC WLN Meeting we will have a ceremony handing over the hosting of the 12th meeting toAustralia. In the capacity of the Chairwomen of the 11th APEC WLN Meeting, the VWU, for the last year,has worked hard to make this 11th Meeting a success. o­n this occasion, the VWU would like to thank the Party, State, Ministries, Sectors, organizations and units in Vietnam for their facilitation for this Meeting.


Fully believing in a bright future, irrespective of race, religion and the people, we gather at this meeting with the theme “Towards a Dynamic Community: Enhancing the Competitiveness of Women’s Businesses for Sustainable Development and Prosperity”. With the pleasure of being together, I would like to declare the opening of the 11th APEC WLNMeeting.


Thank you.