A senior Vietnamese official has affirmed that Vietnam has carried out over 90 percent of its commitments to the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).
Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang made the confirmation while revealing Vietnam’s preparation progress for the establishment of the AEC in an interview with the Vietnam News Agency – which was published on Monday – on the conclusion of the 21st ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Retreat in Malaysia.
The Vietnamese government has adopted guidelines and strategies to carry out commitments to the AEC formation, such as facilitating administrative formalities for businesses and raising public awareness of opportunities and challenges when joining the AEC, Minister Hoang said.
As shown on the ASEAN’s website, the AEC is the goal of regional economic integration by 2015 and envisages the following key characteristics: a single market and production base, a highly competitive economic region, a region of equitable economic development, and a region fully integrated into the global economy.
Minister Hoang pointed out that Vietnam is one of the leading member states, with more than 90 percent of its commitments toward the AEC establishment done, second only to Singapore.
The minister added that Vietnam also took the lead in eliminating tariffs, as the country has already zeroed out nearly 90 percent of its tax lines and will do the same to another seven percent by 2018.
He also emphasized that the establishment of the AEC provides both opportunities and challenges for Vietnam, especially its business community.
He called on state management agencies and businesses to take adequate measures and prepare carefully for the establishment of the AEC on December 31.
The AEM Retreat-21, which was conducted in Kota Bahru from February 28 to March 1, was a significant event in preparation for the ASEAN Summits next April and November, the minister said.
The meeting’s delegates evaluated the implementation of commitments on the AEC formation and discussed measures to facilitate non-tariff trade and business operations.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), founded in 1967, includes Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.