Overcoming challenges to increase domestic competitiveness levels
Ahead of the country's integration into the ASEAN Economic Community at the end of 2015 and in celebration of Vieät Nam's 20th year as an ASEAN member, Vietnam News Agency interviewed Trònh Minh Anh, deputy chief of the National Committee for Internationa
Ahead of the country's integration into the ASEAN Economic Community at the end of 2015, Vietnam News Agency interviewed Trònh Minh Anh, deputy chief of the National Committee for International Economic Co-operation.
Vieät Nam officially became the seventh member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on July 28, 1995.
In the past 19 years, Vieät Nam has not only fulfilled the obligation of a bloc member but also contributed significantly to the region's development.
What will the AEC bring to the region, including Vieät Nam, in the context of uncertainty in both the region and the world?
The major significance is in its target to create a framework for a higher level of economic co-operation. Currently, both Vieät Nam and other ASEAN members hope to integrate more deeply into the world. To do that, ASEAN must change itself and strive for the goals of a single market and production base. Along with that, the community is expected to build a balanced economic development among the member countries and link them closer together to achieve equitable economic development as an integral part of the region. The community also changes the competition environment in the region. It helps increase the competitiveness of the whole region under the pressure of integration from outside.
How open will Vieät Nam's economy be when the AEC takes effect, and what is our integration roadmap?
Economic openness is equal to the total value of imports and exports divided by GDP. Based on this, Vieät Nam ranks second in Asia in terms of economic openness. This degree of openness continues to increase following our deeper economic integration into the region and the world, with participation in the ASEAN and World Trade Organisation (WTO).
Vieät Nam's trade openness has always been 155 to 160 per cent since 2007, with the highest rate of 166 per cent recorded in 2011. A highly open economy like Vieät Nam will also improve when it achieves AEC goals in 2015 and executes its commitments under the ASEAN and WTO frameworks, as well as takes part in other international economic agreements.
However, we will need more time to find out how the importexport structure and investment climate of Vieät Nam will change and what the calculation of ASEAN and Vietnamese economists will be. It is hoped that Vieät Nam's economy will become more open, with the institutionalisation of policies and regulations to accomplish the goal of joining the AEC in 2015.
What opportunities and challenges await Vieät Nam's economy and businesses after joining the AEC?
Any integration will bring more benefits than challenges, unless none of the countries will take part. However, Vietnamese enterprises as well as other ASEAN businesses need to limit challenges and increase opportunities.
The top issue is to significantly lower tariffs that will raise Vieät Nam's export values. In addition, businesses can gain access to larger markets outside ASEAN. At present, ASEAN has signed six free trade agreements (FTA) with big partners in the region and the world. Thus, our enterprises can extend their reach to other markets to raise benefits.
Enterprises should also take