The ASEAN Senior Economic Officials Meeting (SEOM) opened in the central coastal city of Da Nang on August 23 under the chairmanship of deputy head of the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Multilateral Trade Policy Department Le Quang Lan.

At the meeting, ASEAN senior economics officials reviewed preparations for the fourth ASEAN Economic Community Council Meeting (AEC-4), the 42nd ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting (AEM-42) and related meetings which are scheduled to take place from August 24-28, 2010 in Da Nang city.

The meeting reached consensus on the ministers’ proposals on action plans, the agenda programmes and the list of documents which are expected to be adopted at the ministerial conferences.

The draft documents include the SEOM Chair’s reports presented to the AEM-42, the 24th ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) Council meeting and the 13th AEM-ASEAN Investment Area Council Meeting (AEM-AIA 13).

The SEOM also discussed and finalised documents for the consultative conference among economic ministers of the ASEAN and dialogue partners, namely China, the Republic of Korea (RoK), Japan, Australia, New Zealand, India, the European Union (EU) and Russia.

The AEC-4 and the AEM-42 – both ASEAN important annual economic events in 2010 – will draw the participation of 18 economic ministers from ASEAN and the bloc’s dialogue partners and a large number of representatives of the business circle, research bodies and press and media agencies from inside and outside ASEAN.

The AEM-42 will have the theme of, “ASEAN Economic Community (AEC): A Community for Dynamic and Sustainable Growth”.

It affirms the bloc’s new orientation which attaches importance to both economic growth and balanced, stable and sustainable development. This theme also matches with the ASEAN 2010 theme of, “Towards the ASEAN Community: From vision to action” and the ASEAN Leaders’ Statement on Sustained Recovery and Development proposed by Vietnam at the 16 th ASEAN Summit in April, 2010 in Hanoi.

The AEM-42 and related meetings are opportunities for ASEAN economic ministers to discuss concrete orientations and measures to boost ASEAN economic cooperation and successfully set up the AEC in 2015 and to report progress for the AEC-4 and the 17th ASEAN Summit slated for October 2010 in Hanoi./.