Conference talks AEC opportunities for Vietnamese businesses

Conference talks AEC opportunities for Vietnamese businesses (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – “ASEAN at 50: ASEAN
Economic Community and the Opportunities for Vietnamese Businesses” is the
theme of a conference held by the Foreign Ministry in Hanoi on July 19 to mark
the 50th founding anniversary of the ten-member group (August 8). 

In his opening remarks, Assistant to the Foreign
Minister Vu Quang Minh said the formation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC)
marked a new step of integration of ASEAN economies, aiming to build an ASEAN
economic space of connectivity, competitiveness, dynamism and innovation with
people as the centre. 

He underlined the need for businesses to
understand opportunities and challenges following the birth of the AEC. 

However, Minh said, only 16 percent of
Vietnamese enterprises have knowledge about the community, adding that the
conference will offer an opportunity for leaders, researchers and firms to seek
ways to help the business circle bring into full play the opportunities and
cope with the challenges. 

Prof. Hidetoshi Nishimura, President of the
Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), said ASEAN has
recorded great achievements over the past half a century, ensuring regional
peace and stability. 

ASEAN is working hard to implement a single
market and a production base, hence bringing opportunities to all of its member
countries and residents, he said. 

Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung said
ASEAN has become Vietnam’s second trade partner with an average growth rate of
14.5 percent over the past decade. 

Trade between Vietnam and ASEAN increased from
about 19 billion USD in 2006 to 41.36 billion USD in 2016, he said, adding that
ASEAN is Vietnam’s third largest market and third largest supplier of goods. 

ASEAN is also Vietnam’s important foreign direct
investment provider with total registered capital of 64 billion USD and a
bridge for multi-national companies based in ASEAN to invest in the country,
the official said. 

ASEAN-invested projects in Vietnam mainly focus
on production, processing and manufacturing, Dung said, stressing that ASEAN
has become one of the impulses helping Vietnam maintain its sustainable
economic growth rate. 

ASEAN Secretary General Le Luong Minh described
ASEAN as an attractive destination for foreign investors and the world’s six
largest economy with a population of 640 million.

He, however, pointed out an array of
difficulties facing the group such as development gap between member countries
and differences in development goals, laws, institutions and awareness of
people and the business circle. 

Besides, the nations also face other problems
like aging population, middle-income trap, inequality and non-traditional
threats, Minh noted. 

He said since joining the group, Vietnam has
stepped up cooperation with other member countries and participated more deeply
in the global value chain, as reflected through its engagement in the
Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, negotiations of the Regional Comprehensive
Economic Partnership (RECP) agreement and signing of free trade agreements with
the EU and the Eurasian Economic Union. 

Deputy Foreign Minister Dung said realising the AEC
at a new development level is the task of Governments of ASEAN member countries
as well as the business circle. 

Besides, it is necessary for the Governments to
make all-out efforts to narrow development gaps within ASEAN as well as between
ASEAN and other regions, promote economic integration to improve the group’s
competitiveness and enhance infrastructure connectivity, he said. 

Dung emphasised the Vietnamese Government’s
commitment to further renovating and reforming the economy, which, he said, has
been demonstrated through its efforts to build a transparent and facilitating Government.–VNA

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