Promoting stronger regional economic cooperation

(VOVworld)- The 21st ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Retreat wrapped in Malaysia on Sunday. The Ministers agreed to establish the ASEAN Economic Community and conclude negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement by the end of this year. Vietnam has completed most of commitments related to building the ASEAN Community.

Promoting stronger regional economic cooperation  - ảnh 1

The ASEAN Economic Community was part of the ASEAN Vision 2020 signed in 1997 on ASEAN’s 30th anniversary. The AEC will create a unified market among ASEAN members by 2015, 5 years ahead of schedule. In this market, goods, services, investment and labor will move freely. Economists estimate that joining the AEC will boost Vietnam’s GDP 3.5% or more.

Vietnam’s active participation

2015 is an important year for the establishment of the ASEAN Community. So far, 90% of the work of establishing the AEC has been completed. Vietnam is one of 4 ASEAN members that have completed most of their commitments in the AEC roadmap. Vietnam has reduced more than 10,000 import taxes - 98% of all tariffs – below 5%. Le Trieu Dung is Deputy Director of the Foreign Trade Policy Department of the Ministry of Industry and Trade: “Vietnam’s active participation in ASEAN is reflected in its initiatives on trade facilitation which have been implemented among ASEAN countries and have brought great economic benefits. Vietnam is currently implementing a national one-door customs mechanism and will apply the ASEAN one-door customs mechanism to facilitate export activities. We have also applied a mechanism to make it easier for enterprises to get certificate of origin. So far, we have completed 90% of our commitments to ASEAN”.

Grasping opportunities to overcome challenges

Economists say participating in the AEC will bring huge benefits for Vietnam and enable Vietnam to achieve higher economic growth, create more jobs, attract more foreign investment and improve its productivity and competitiveness. It will also strengthen the Vietnamese economy and its foothold in the regional production chain. However, Vietnam will also face a lot of challenges in joining the AEC, including development gaps between ASEAN member countries, competition pressures, and tariff and non-tariff barriers. Mr. Dung says: “We are actively participating in the bloc. We will face a fierce competition in opening our markets. Relevant state agencies need to focus on improving the business environment and enterprises need to work out appropriate long-term business plans”.

Boosting regional economic integration

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Cam Tu said Vietnamese relevant agencies and businesses are ready to join the AEC: “First, we need to effectively implement solutions put forth in the ASEAN Economic Community’s master plan. We also need to realize our commitments to ASEAN, the World Trade Organization and other integration structures. This will create a boost for the national economy and enable Vietnam to sustainably integrate into the world economy”.

Being aware of opportunities and challenges will help Vietnam work out a more active, specific and flexible strategy in joining the AEC. 2015 will mark a new milestone in Vietnam’s economic integration into ASEAN.

Anh Huyen