In the past year, the Government and the Prime Minister made the right decisions in two Covid-19 outbreaks, with appropriate isolation measures to ensure that the epidemic was put under control and socio-economic activities could continue.
For the Government and the Prime Minister, the goal was not only fighting against Covid-19. The Prime Minister reiterated many times that Vietnam only achieved half a goal if it only succeeded in containing the coronavirus. Which is why the Government accepted to take on the challenge of striving to fulfil the double goal of preventing the epidemic and ensuring economic recovery and growth.
Under the helm of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, the Government spent a significant amount of time on dealing with pressing economic issues. During the peak of Covid-19, economic activities were still going on and essential goods were sufficiently supplied to the people. The Prime Minister aggressively directed the implementation of unprecedentedly large financial packages to support enterprises and ensure social security so that no-one was left behind.
Amid the difficult times, the Prime Minister repeatedly issued necessary instructions and held many conferences to promote production and business in the new normal state. He emphasised that the Covid-19 pandemic had changed the world and Vietnam should take the occasion to translate challenges into opportunities by focusing on the domestic market, stepping up IT application, promoting administrative reform, switching to virtual conferences, fostering electronic payment, e-government and the digital economy. Thanks to the early containment of Covid-19, Vietnam was well-positioned to maintain socio-economic development. Vietnam persisted in implementing the double goal and eventually achieved the double victory.
In the past year, the Prime Minister also inspired the people to work towards a strong and prosperous nation as Vietnam is looking to the 100th founding anniversary of the Communist Party of Vietnam in 2030 and the 100th founding anniversary of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (now the Socialist Republic of Vietnam) in 2045.
Under the Party's sound leadership, the Government's effective administration and the efforts of the business community and the whole people, and thanks to the success in containing Covid-19, Vietnam recorded a growth rate of nearly 3%, one of the few economies in the world with positive growth in 2020. Vietnam also registered a record trade surplus of US$19.1 billion and large foreign reserves. 2020 can be considered the most successful year of the 2016-2020 period in terms of the spirit to rise above challenges. The people's confidence in the Party, the country's future and the nation's fortune has been strengthened. Such achievements further affirm the spirit of a facilitating government, which always cares for its people, places the people's interests above all, accompanies the people and the business community, and actively fights against bureaucracy and corruption.
During Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc's talks with and receptions for leaders of foreign countries, international organisations and major corporations, they all expressed their appreciation for Vietnam's miracle in Covid-19 control and economic recovery, considering Vietnam as bright example in fighting against the pandemic and a safe destination for investment. That is why during the Covid-19 pandemic, which disrupted global supply chains, many large multinational companies decided to relocate their production to Vietnam.
2020 was also a year of unusual natural calamities, with back-to-back storms and flooding like never seen before in Vietnam's recorded history, especially in the central region, which caused a tremendous loss of lives and properties. Despite having a busy schedule, the Prime Minister spent a great deal of time instructing, inspecting and attending meetings to discuss measures to overcome the consequences of disasters so that those in affected would not be hungry and thrown into the state of homelessness.
Vietnam also left a significant mark on the international stage when it assumed the chairmanship of ASEAN and non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council for the 2020-2021 term. The pandemic forced ASEAN meetings to go virtual, but under the charge of Vietnam, especially Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Vietnam managed to hold many summits successfully. Notably, with Vietnam's great efforts, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership was signed, making it the world's largest trade agreement, covering about 30% of the global population and 30% of global GDP.
With the whole ASEAN Community's resilience, firm resolution and strong actions, partners' effective cooperation and Vietnam's steady guidance, looking back, we can proudly state that Vietnam's chairmanship of ASEAN in 2010 was a complete and substantive success, and a new victory of the Party's multidimensional foreign policy, helping to take Vietnam's position to new heights on the international stage.
It was a great success in terms of the content quality and the record number of documents adopted at more than 550 meetings, with many of Vietnam's initiatives and priorities having become common assets of ASEAN. Vietnam also succeeded in promoting an ASEAN Community and Vietnam of peace, stability and prosperity. This gives the country more strength to be more confident and continue to push for extensive and effective international integration. Not only is Vietnam an active member that always fulfils its commitments seriously, it has also become a firm and reliable support, especially when ASEAN is facing many challenges such as the Covid-19 pandemic.
A new year offers an atmosphere full of hope and optimism but also presents numerous challenges, which requires the whole political system to make even greater efforts. However, we believe that a new spring will heralds bright prospects ahead. Building on the accomplishments of 35 years of reform, victoriously implementing the resolution of the 13th National Party Congress right in the first year is important groundwork for Vietnam to record even greater achievements in subsequent years.
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