Overview of the 48th AEM opening ceremony (Photo: VNA)
Vientiane (VNA) – The 48th ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Meeting (AEM 48) and related meetings kicked off in Vientiane, Laos on August 3, focusing on economic cooperation among the 10 member countries as well as between the group and its partners.

Opening the event, Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith said that the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015 was an historical milestone in ASEAN economic integration, making the association a competitive area with strong global integration.

However, the AEC is just a starting point for the grouping’s economic integration, he said, stressing that ASEAN should continue stepping forwards by means of a specific strategy, while fulfilling the AEC blueprint 2015.

He highlighted the significance of the meeting, expressing his hope that the ministers will discuss issues with a high sense of responsibility, thus realising the AEC Blueprint 2025.

During the annual event, ministers are scheduled to debate the issues and agreements reached during the 22nd ASEAN Economic Retreat in Chiang Mai , Thailand in March this year, while designing plans of action focusing on the eight priorities of the ASEAN economic pillar.

At the same time, the ministers will also discuss criteria and orientations for the building of the AEC as well as plan the direction to implement the AEC Blueprint 2025.

Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh led the Vietnamese delegation at the event.

The AEC 48 is an important event where ministers are preparing the agenda for the 29 th ASEAN Summit and related meetings, taking place in September this year in Vientiane .

As scheduled, a series of related meetings will be held in Vientiane from August 3-6, including the 30th Meeting of ASEAN Free Trade Area Council (AFTA 30), the 19th ASEAN Investment Area Council Meeting (AIA 19), the 4th EAS Economic Ministers Meeting, the 4th Ministerial Meeting of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the 8th Mekong-Japan Economic Ministers’ Meeting, the 8th CLMV Economic Ministers’ Meeting, and AEM Consultations with nine ASEAN partners: India, Canada, the Republic of Korea, the US, Russia, Japan, New Zealand, Australia and China.-VNA