|Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Cam Tu.— Photo thoibaokinhdoanh
HA NOI (VNS) — Viet Nam and other ASEAN countries would accord top priority to developing the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), delegates at a seminar held in Ha Noi yesterday were told.
Speaking at the event titled "Upgrading Viet Nam's position towards AEC 2015 and beyond", Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Cam Tu said Viet Nam should be active in building the ASEAN community as well as upgrading its position. It is important for the country to focus on infrastructure development.
"The countries should work together to share experiences and initiatives and grasp the advantages of the AEC to overcome challenges in the future such as migrant labour, institution building and regulatory reforms," Tu said.
He hoped the seminar would provide a good opportunity to State agencies, private sector and foreign experts to discuss important issues in ASEAN including developing small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and taking part in the supply chain and international economic integration.
ASEAN Secretary General Le Luong Minh said since joining the AEC, Viet Nam had recorded economic growth through inner-bloc investments and export promotion.
"From now to 2015 and post 2015, the ASEAN Community needs to perform numerous tasks, particularly on removing tariff barriers, enhancing investment appeal and bridging the development gap among regional countries," Minh said.
He said that after 47 years of its existence, the bloc had significant achievements to its credit and its members had a relatively high growth rate.
ASEAN had become one of the most dynamic areas in the world.
He said the country should strengthen its reform mechanisms to fully exploit the opportunities in AEC and make it a destination for investors.
In addition, infrastructure would be a vital factor for development.
However, economist Vo Tri Thanh said several Vietnamese businesses had not been aware of ASEAN though Viet Nam had long-term economic relationships with countries in the bloc.
"Businesses will play an extremely crucial role in upgrading Viet Nam's position in the context of building the AEC by 2015," Thanh said.
For years, Vietnamese enterprises have entered into the production chain with partners in ASEAN. However, the activities was on a small scale with special partners and formal co-operation.
"This is the reason that Vietnamese firms have missed opportunities with new partners in the remaining countries of the region," he added.
The country's export turnover to ASEAN continuously increased from US$13.5 million in 2011 to $18.4 million in 2013.
The limits in accessing information on economic co-operation in the region made enterprises passive and unprepared for new economic activities with other countries.
He proposed that companies should be active in joining production and supply chains as well as strengthening co-operation by taking advantage of the favourable conditions from trade pacts.
Sharing these ideas, the ministry's Import-Export Department said Vietnamese firms should participate in the material supply chain to increase the number of products routed from ASEAN to enjoy the preferential of the pacts. This could also help the country develop the support industry for sectors such as garments and textiles, leather shoes, spare parts and electronics equipment.
The seminar is part of the capacity building programme of the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) which has been held since 2008 in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Viet Nam alternately with a view to boosting integration among ASEAN member countries. — VNS