Stronger steps have been taken towards a sturdy ASEAN community.
Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung told last week’s 17th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits in Hanoi that important achievements had been made in the implementation of the ASEAN Charter and the roadmap for an ASEAN community by 2015.
Vietnam has played a leading role in driving the region forward towards a common community
ASEAN leaders have adopted the master plan on ASEAN Connectivity, submitted by an ASEAN Connectivity Coordinating Committee task force, to coordinate and oversee the implementation of the master plan, according to the summit chair’s official statement.
“The master plan, to be unveiled in Vietnam in early December, will create new opportunities to boost trade and investment in our areas,” Dung said.
He said ASEAN consumers would have more effective choices in terms of prices and the quality of goods and services thanks to better business efficiency and productivity. This process will create a chain among enterprises in the ASEAN and East Asia, further labour allocation in the region to enhance competitiveness and generate jobs.
At the event, the leaders also welcomed efforts by ASEAN financial ministers towards the establishment of the ASEAN Infrastructure Fund, which manifested ASEAN’s determination and self-reliance to mobilise financial resources within ASEAN to support regional infrastructure development.
“These crucial decisions by the leaders will facilitate the enhancement of regional connectivity in every aspect, as well as pave the way for connectivity in the wider East Asia region,” Dung said.
The event spokesman Tran Ngoc An said leaders had also adopted Vietnam’s initiatives, including a statement on human resources and skills development for economic recovery and sustainable growth.
The initiatives also encompass the Hanoi Declaration on the Enhancement of Welfare and Development of ASEAN Women and Children.
The leaders also agreed on measures to strengthen cooperation to deal with such transnational issues as food and energy security, climate change, natural disasters and infectious diseases.
According to Vietnam’s government, the ASEAN Charter had been brought to life with the smooth operation of the new organisational structure. This has created a legal basis and institutional framework for the ASEAN Community and deeper regional integration.
“The implementation of programmes and plans for building the ASEAN community in all three pillars are expeditiously undertaken along the defined priorities and roadmaps, bringing important outcomes,” said a government statement.
For example, the process of building the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) is also reaping good fruits with the firm establishment of the ASEAN Free Trade Area on trade in goods, services and investments, as well as the implementation of a number of cooperation programmes in key areas like the ASEAN single window and trade facilitation programme.
Vietnam’s Minister of Trade and Industry Vu Huy Hoang said the AEC had almost completed the implementation of measures for the first phrase of 2008-2009 and had moved on to the second phase of implementation during 2010-2011.
He said to bring ASEAN into a single market and common production base, ASEAN member states must continue their efforts to go through another two phases scheduled for 2012-2013 and 2014-2015.
Dung also called for ASEAN members to carry out comprehensive measures to speed up the implementation of the programmes and plans to build the ASEAN Community in the most effective manner.
He said that ASEAN should make efforts to create real improvements in the “culture of compliance” through, among other things, strengthening the monitoring and assessing mechanisms for materialising agreements.