Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung (Centre) at the ASEAN-US Summit (Photo: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) - Leaders of the 10 ASEAN member countries and US President Barack Obama discussed the development of regional prosperity through innovation and entrepreneurship at the opening session of the special ASEAN-US Summit in California, on February 15 (US time).

The leaders agreed to further deepen the ASEAN-US strategic partnership, especially in developing industries with high scientific and technological contents and promoting the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit, which will be a priority of the ASEAN in the time ahead.

As the biggest economy in the world and one of ASEAN’s top partners, the US is urged to increase cooperation with and support for ASEAN, to help build the ASEAN Community, develop small- and medium-sized enterprises and a digital economy as well as advanced technology and clean energy, alongside bolstering start-ups and the innovative spirit.

Chairing the event, President Obama congratulated the formation of the ASEAN Community, and confirmed that the US attaches great importance to relations with ASEAN and supports its central role in the forming regional structures.

The President said he hopes the two sides will continue to push ahead with economic and trade cooperation in the future.

Addressing the function, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung stressed the strategic significance of ASEAN-US relations towards peace, stability and development in the region.

He proposed that the parties should effectively implement the agreed cooperation programmes, particularly the ASEAN-US Action Plan for 2016-2020

“Vietnam supports increasing activities to promote cooperation and investment, and share start-up experience, knowledge and technology between ASEAN and US enterprises,” he said, calling for the US’s efforts to assist ASEAN in building a business environment conducive to innovative, dynamic and sustainable development, particularly for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

PM Dung suggested that the sides consider the possibility of establishing an ASEAN-US Centre of Entrepreneurship and SMEs Development Support and such a centre could be situated in Vietnam.

At the session, ASEAN leaders held talks with some leading US firms such as IBM, Microsoft and Cisco, to seek stronger cooperation between US firms and ASEAN information-technology companies.

US companies spoke highly of ASEAN’s potential in developing the IT industry and the digital economy, and asked ASEAN leaders to further improve the environment for the IT sector.

The special ASEAN-US Summit is taking place in the US between February 15-26, which marks a new milestone in bilateral strategic partnership and demonstrates the increasing role and position of ASEAN in the global arena.

The summit, the first of its kind between ASEAN and a partner country after the official formation of the ASEAN Community in December 2015, also illustrates the US’s hope to boost more pragmatic collaboration with Southeast Asia and ASEAN - for peace, security and prosperity in the region.-VNA