|Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh (third from left) attends the meeting yesterday in HCM City. — Photo congan
HCM CITY (VNS) — Vietnamese enterprises must learn more about the ASEAN Economic Community to prepare for the challenges it will present when it takes effect at the end of the year, Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh said at a meeting yesterday in HCM City.
Minh, who is also Minister of Foreign Affairs, said: "We understand that the ASEAN Economic Community will be established by the end of 2015, but we have lived in the community in a way for years. The year 2015 is the time when the final commitments in the community will be realised. The difficulty faced by Viet Nam now are that people have yet to understand the integration process," he said on the sidelines of the seminar, which discussed international and regional integration.
Between 60 and 70 per cent of Vietnamese do not have a thorough understanding of ASEAN, far higher than the rate in other countries.
Minh said that several major opportunities and enterprises of other countries in ASEAN have seized the opportunity to develop trade, while Vietnamese enterprises have not performed as well.
According to the Deputy Prime Minister, Vietnamese enterprises have given more priority to markets outside ASEAN such as the US and EU.
Also speaking at the seminar, Nguyen Nguyet Nga, head of the Standing Secretariat of APEC 2017 under the Foreign Affairs Ministry, said Viet Nam would face competition at all levels in the new EC.
Enterprises need to better understand the laws and regulations in the ASEAN EC, especially when trade disputes occur, Minh said.
Viet Nam has competitive advantages in garments, footwear and agricultural products. However, enterprises must improve quality and meet strict standards required by other countries, including rules on environment and labour, he added. The government has supported local enterprises by developing policies to create opportunity for enterprises, and devising laws on enterprises and investment.
Laws have created favorable conditions for enterprises, he said, adding that companies should raise their concerns. The government also plans to help companies with capital and human resources, as well as new infrastructure. In a related matter, Minh said that the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations might conclude in early 2015, and that Viet Nam and other countries had reached agreement on a number of issues. However, he did not predict when the TPP would go into effect. — VNS