Illustrative image (Source: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – A great number of Hanoi businesses learned about opportunities and challenges of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) during a discussion in the capital city on January 8.

Director of the municipal Department of Foreign Affairs, Pham Vinh Quang said the AEC, which officially took shape on December 31, 2015 as part of the ASEAN Community: with member countries’ full implementation of their commitments – we can move forward in helping promote regional peace, security and prosperity.

Particularly, the AEC will offer Vietnamese enterprises, numerous chances to integrate into the larger regional economy along with an array of challenges.

The AEC is similar to an economic integration framework, but at a more intensive level. It proceeds with the achievements of the ASEAN Free Trade Area, - which allows the freer flow of goods, services, capital, investment and skilled labour among the 10 member countries, Quang noted.

The AEC continues fostering the execution of the ASEAN integration initiative in 12 prioritised spheres. They consist of seven goods-related fields (agricultural products, aquatic products, wood products, electronics, rubber, automobile, and textile-garment) and five services areas (health care, tourism, air transport, information technology, and logistics services).

The community will also step up initiatives for narrowing development gaps between member countries, strengthening cooperation with non-ASEAN countries, and boosting integration into the world, the official added.

Meanwhile, challenges posed by the AEC such as the language barrier, the competition of foreign goods, and the deadline for realising commitments are also likely to affect Hanoi businesses - as the city is a growth engine of Vietnam, Quang said.-VNA