At the workshop (Photo: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – It is high time to build specific programmes to raise public awareness of opportunities and challenges from the formation of the ASEAN Community, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh said at a workshop in Hanoi on December 11.

He said the establishment of the ASEAN Community at the end of this year will mark a significant new development of the association, demonstrating the common perception and joint actions of member countries on the necessity of increasing connectivity to optimise opportunities and overcome challenges.

The event is expected to bring enormous benefits for Vietnam, the Deputy PM said.

Regarding politics and security, Vietnam will have excellent opportunities to reinforce the peaceful and friendly relations with other member nations.

On the economic front, Vietnam would be able to expand goods and services markets, attracting more foreign investment, improving economic institutions, and join the global distribution and production chains.

As regards social and cultural affairs, Vietnam could pursue higher standards in the field such as promoting human rights and enriching cultural identities, he said.

However, a number of challenges are facing Vietnam, especially in terms of economics, in implementing the 2025 ASEAN Community Vision due to the development gap, Minh said.

He noted that most Vietnamese businesses are operating at small scale with backward technology compared to ASEAN-4 comprising of Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines, and domestic entrepreneurs have little experience in international competition.

Once the ASEAN Community takes shape at the end of this year, Vietnamese firms would encounter heavy competitive pressure from goods and services of other ASEAN countries, he said, warning that some businesses might have to narrow production or even declare bankruptcy.

Therefore, it is imperative to build and complete action programmes to enhance awareness of ministries, sectors, localities and people about the opportunities and challenges from the inception of the ASEAN Community, Minh concluded.

Discussions at the workshop were focused on specific measures to educate both officials and the public on the ASEAN Community, plans of actions for ministries, sectors, organisations and localities for each ASEAN Community pillar and to implement the ASEAN Vision, and other preparations.-VNA