Contributing to a cohesive and responsive ASEAN

August 12, 2022 | 16:22
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Vietnam became an official member of ASEAN on July 28, 1995 at the 28th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. This was an important turning point, opening a period of integration and development in Southeast Asia.

It can be said that membership was the first step in the country’s global economic integration process.

Since then, Vietnam has been actively taking part in joint activities, especially economic cooperation ones. Together with member countries, Vietnam has been making efforts to implement the commitments and initiatives in the bloc, especially promoting the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015 with an aim to develop the bloc into a single market and manufacturing hub where goods, services, and investment are freely moving.

Contributing to a cohesive and responsive ASEAN
The work ASEAN has carried out has helped make trade easier

Vietnam, together with ASEAN nations, has been promoting extensive economic cooperation with international partners. Highlights include signed and enforced free trade agreements (FTAs) between ASEAN and partners such as China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, and India, as well as the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand FTA.

As the chair of ASEAN 2020 and taking the role of promoting the establishment of the AEC, Vietnam and member countries displayed a cohesive and responsive spirit through hundreds of online meetings and proposed many initiatives to reinforce the regional supply chain and overcome the pandemic.

They included the Master Recovery Plan, Hanoi Plan of Action on Strengthening Economic Cooperation and Supply Chain Connectivity; and an MoU on dealing with non-tariff measures for the ASEAN List of Essential Goods.

In that chair role, and also as chair of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Ministerial Meeting, Vietnam actively coordinated with ASEAN member countries and partners to find solutions and promote consensus to deal with the negotiation processes, thus contributing to the signing the RCEP in November 2020. This great effort was highly appreciated by all sides, thus contributing to improving the prestige of Vietnam in the regional and international arena.

In the upcoming time, Vietnam will continue to keep the orientation of ASEAN integration as one of its priorities in the global economic path, reaffirming the sense of initiative in implementing the AEC’s initiatives and contributing to increasing unity and the dynamics of the economic region as a whole.

After 27 years of ASEAN membership, the implementation of cooperation commitments and initiatives in the AEC has been bringing about positive impacts for the country, businesses, and Vietnamese people in particular.

Vietnam’s economy has seen great changes in all aspects. In particular, GDP per capita rose over 13-fold, while the economic size grew from $20.7 billion in 1995 to $362.6 billion in 2021, ranking sixth in ASEAN in terms of nominal GDP. Vietnam’s export turnover rose from $5.2 billion to $336.3 billion in the same period of time.

ASEAN membership has also helped open cooperation opportunities for businesses, contributing to improving people’s livelihoods, creating more jobs, and increasing access to goods with diversified types and quality at reasonable prices from countries worldwide.

(*) Pham Quynh Mai, Deputy director, Multilateral Trade Policy Department Ministry of Industry and Trade

By Pham Quynh Mai

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