15:43 | 23/09/2015 Cooperation
(VEN) - Although facing economic fluctuations regionally and globally, ministers reaffirmed their determination to establish the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by the end of 2015 when addressing the 47th ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Meeting.
ASEAN member countries have completed 91.5 percent of priority measures and major impacts on trade and investment set out in the master plan on building the AEC by the end of July. In terms of services, transport, infrastructure and trade facilitation, ASEAN member countries agreed to make further efforts for completion in 2016. Vietnam has been one of the leading countries in completing the formation targets with 94.5 percent.
Regarding trade in goods, the ASEAN Free Trade Area will give priority for promoting trade facilitation in the region. Ministers agreed on implementing pilot project on self-certification of origin, building the ASEAN one-stop-shop mechanism and establishing the ASEAN Trade Repository (ATR) to provide information for businesses.
The Vietnamese government issued Resolution 19/NQ-CP on March 2015 on key tasks and measures to strengthen national competitiveness, improve the business environment, enhance efficiency, productivity and product quality and renovate growth models. In addition, the Ministry of Industry and Trade also issued Circular 28/TT-BCT stipulating the pilot implementation of self-certification of origin. Vietnam is preparing to sign a protocol on the legal framework for the implementation of the ASEAN one-stop-shop mechanism and expects to connect the national one-door customs mechanism with Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia in this September. The Ministry of Industry and Trade is also developing the ATR project with a focus on providing trade information for businesses.
Regarding trade in services, ASEAN member countries completed the ninth package of commitments under the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services and are promoting the completion of the tenth package.
Member countries are deploying the ASEAN Comprehensive Investment Agreement (ACIA) with many initiatives to improve the investment environment.
In terms of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement between ASEAN and six partner countries of India, the Republic of Korea, Japan, New Zealand, Australia and China, ministers agreed on the initial tariff commitment model, creating favorable conditions to accelerate negotiations.
Ministers approved in principle the AEC overall roadmap during the 2016-2025 period in order to build ASEAN into the unified economy, ensuring the dynamic, innovative and comprehensive development. In addition, the roadmap will pay attention to active integration into the global economy. ASEAN will continue reviewing to eliminate remaining barriers to free circulation of goods, services and skilled labors in the region and facilitating investment to help member countries have more opportunities in expanding consumer market. Narrowing the development gap, mutually supporting in building supply chains and enhancing competitiveness were also mentioned in the roadmap. The biggest challenge for Vietnam is to manufacture high-quality goods with competitive prices in order to make the most of opportunities offered by an economic integration and free trade agreements.
According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Vietnam and ASEAN countries discussed directions to complete measures for AEC establishment by the end of the year and the AEC Overall Roadmap by 2025, focusing on promoting trade facilitation to cut costs and improve competitiveness for businesses. Vietnam will continue promoting regional cooperation in order to strengthen economic connection and create economic sub-regions having implications for socioeconomic development of many cities and provinces in the central region and the south.
The 47th ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Meeting and related meetings took place on August 22-25 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Vietnamese delegation headed by Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Cam Tu attended the meeting. This is an important annual event for the economic ministers of the 10 ASEAN countries and nine partner countries to exchange the economic cooperation situation within ASEAN and between ASEAN and its partners.