A conference was held in Hanoi on June 16, scrutinising the establishment of ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), a pillar of the ASEAN Community that will be formed by the end of this year, and Vietnam’s preparation for its involvement in the community.

Hosted by t he National Assembly’s Committee for External Relations, the event was in preparation for a hearing on the process of building the ASEAN Community, which is scheduled to be organised on August 18.

Addressing the event, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Cam Tu briefed participants on the nature of AEC, saying that the community is a framework for deeper economic integration among ASEAN member nations, formed as the result of integration initiatives for 12 priority fields within ASEAN. The 12 fields comprise seven commodities, including farm products, aquatic products, electronics, wooden products, rubber, automobile, and textiles and garment, and five services tourism, health care, aviation transport, information technology and logistics.

Deputy Minister Tu highlighted that the formation of the AEC aims to turn ASEAN into a common production base and market with free circulation of goods, services, investment, skilled labourer, and capital flow; while promoting balanced development among the group’s member states, improving competitiveness of the regional economy, and boosting the regional economic integration into the global economy.

A member of the ASEAN since 1995, Vietnam has fully participated in and had many initiatives contributed to the group. The country has also strictly implemented the commitments of the AEC formation, and is among members having completed the most commitments, according to the Deputy Minister.

At the conference, representatives from the NA’s Committees for External Relations, Economy, and Finance-Budget reported the building and implementation of legal documents related to Vietnam’s integration process and legal harmonization within ASEAN.

Participants discussed challenges and opportunities facing the ASEAN after the ASEAN Community is formed, concurring that the establishment of AEC in particular and ASEAN Community in general, will further forge links within the bloc.

They also underlined the need for Vietnam to step up communication efforts to enhance public awareness and social consensus on the ASEAN Community, proactively participate in programmes enhancing links within ASEAN, and speed up administrative reform, especially in trade.

Founded in 1967, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.-VNA