The 44th ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting (AEM 44) kicked off in Siem Reap city, Cambodia on August 27.

ASEAN economic ministers focused their discussions on measures and plans to promote the intra bloc economic integration, build an ASEAN Economic Community by 2015.

The Vietnamese delegation to AEM 44 and related meetings is headed by Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen emphasised the importance of AEM 44 for the bloc, especially in the context of ASEAN’s efforts to implement the goal of forming the ASEAN Community by 2015.

According to the Cambodian PM, one of the top priorities of AEM 44 and related meetings is to promote the inaugural of the ASEAN Economic Community through turning ASEAN into a unified production establishment and market.

ASEM 44 should also discuss measures to maintain and consolidate ASEAN’s central role in the region and the world’s economic cooperation structure, he said, adding that ASEAN countries need to speed up narrowing the development gap among the bloc’s members.

Within the framework of AEM 44 and related meetings, ASEAN economic ministers will hold bilateral and multilateral meetings on economic cooperation and trade liberalisation with the bloc’s partners, including the US, China, the Republic of Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, India, Canada and Russia.-VNA