Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc speaks at the event (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The Government of Vietnam has consistently pursued a comprehensive integration policy with the focus placed on international economic integration, considering this as a motivation to promote economic reform, growth and development, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has said.

PM Phuc, who is also Head of the National Steering Committee for International Integration, delivered the message at the Vietnam International Economic Integration Forum 2017, which opened in Hanoi on December 20.

The PM highlighted Vietnam’s recent integration achievements and the role of foreign investment in the country’s economic development. Vietnam’s trade surplus exceeded 3 billion USD for the first time and its import-export turnover in 2017 is likely to reach 420 billion USD, he said, adding that the nation is now home to more than 24,000 valid foreign-invested projects with a total registered capital of nearly 320 billion USD.

To implement its integration commitments, Vietnam is making every effort to foster economic reform, from reorganising production, building brands to renewing growth model, and improving the economy’s competitiveness and legal institutions in order to create a better business climate for domestic and foreign investors, PM Phuc said.

The government leader asked ministries, sectors and localities to strongly and comprehensively implement the international integration action plan in all aspects in parallel with the reform process.

He requested the Inter-sectoral Steering Committee for International Economic Integration to enhance connections and coordinate ministries, sectors and localities to effectively carry out the international economic integration work and examine international economic integration agreements, especially commitments in free trade agreements (FTAs).

The PM also underlined the important role played by businesses, especially private enterprises, saying that the private sector is a driving force of the national economy.

He called for more efforts from businesses to study FTAs, thus building their own business plans and overcoming challenges. Small- and medium-sized enterprises should foster linkages through associations to protect their legitimate rights in the context of increasing competition, and to deal with new international trade barriers, the PM added.

Sharing opinions raised by participants at the forum, PM Phuc stressed that attention should be paid to increasing labour productivity, developing human resources, improving national governance capacity, along with capitalising on internal resources and international integration opportunities and the 4th industrial revolution.

He also took this occasion to call for and praise support and cooperation from international partners and community for Vietnam’s economic development.

The PM asked the Inter-sectoral Steering Committee for International Economic Integration to closely coordinate with domestic and foreign research agencies to promote researches on strategic issues concerning international economic integration, thus giving advice to the Government in the policymaking process.

In his opening speech, Deputy PM Vuong Dinh Hue, who is also Head of the Inter-sectoral Steering Committee for International Economic Integration, said Vietnam is seeing both opportunities and challenges in the implementation of new-generation FTAs with higher commitments.

Hue also pointed out that Vietnamese businesses, of which more than 90 percent are small- and medium-sized enterprises, have shown their weaknesses in terms of strategic thought, technology and competitiveness when implementing integration commitments.

The forum, hosted by the Inter-sectoral Steering Committee for International Economic Integration, comprises three working sessions with the participation of 300 domestic and foreign delegates.-VNA