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Awareness key to ASEAN integration

Update: January, 09/2015 - 09:29
ASEAN is expected to become a single market with an estimated combined GDP of US$2.5 trillion. — Photo seatimes

HA NOI (VNS) — ASEAN member countries' ambassadors vowed yesterday in Viet Nam to increase their citizens' awareness about ASEAN, as the deadline for creating an integrated community drew near.

The ambassadors gathered at a forum held by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to talk about preparing for integration into the ASEAN Community. They agreed that ASEAN integration would mean nothing if the countries' people did not also see the benefits, in terms of labor, free flow of goods and reduced administrative procedures.

Mayerfas, the Indonesian ambassador to Viet Nam, said Indonesia has been encouraging residents to consider themselves citizens of ASEAN, as well as of Indonesia.

Nguyen Vu Tu, deputy head of SOM ASEAN Viet Nam, said ASEAN doesn't use the same model as the European Union, and only aims to increase co-operation among its members within the legal framework of the ASEAN Charter.

The ASEAN Community is based on three pillars: the Political Security Community, Economic Community and Socio-Cultural Community. It's set become active on December 31, 2015.

Ng Teck Hean, the Singaporean ambassador to Viet Nam, said member countries needed to realize that 2015 is just the beginning of integration, and be ready to enact a longer-term agenda.

Hean said Singapore was working to educate younger generations about ASEAN in schools. This was something Viet Nam should try to emulate, Tu said.

Panyarak Poolthup, the Thai ambassador to Viet Nam, said the Thai government wanted to urge people to start looking beyond the country's borders for job opportunities, as ASEAN was becoming one big, 600-million-person market – starting on December 31, 2015.

At the event, Malaysia introduced the ASEAN logo. The country will chair ASEAN during final preparations for the ASEAN Community.

ASEAN is expected to become a single market with an estimated combined GDP of US$2.5 trillion. — VNS

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