Vietnam is always prepared to cooperate on labour, employment and social welfare issues with Asian-Europe Meeting (ASEM), said Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung at the fourth ASEM Labour and Employment Ministers’ Conference which got underway in Hanoi on October 25.

Dung told the conference, themed ‘Social protection and employment – A key to sustainable and inclusive growth’, that it is an opportunity for the participants to discuss their experiences, promote cooperation and strengthen the role of the Asia-Europe talks in this field to step up the economic recovery and ensure sustainable development.

He said that Vietnam , with its population of nearly 90 million, plays an important strategic role in Southeast Asia as a member of the WTO and other regional and international economic and trade mechanisms. He went on to state that the country always treasures cooperation with ASEM member countries, particularly in the fields of labour, employment and social welfare.

Developing the economy in line with ensuring social welfare is one of Vietnam ’s long-term policies, said Dung.

The Vietnamese Government has finalized a number of policies and implemented several measures in employment and vocational training to develop human resources and ensure social welfare, he added.

The PM emphasised that Vietnam is impressed with ASEM’s initiatives to foster cooperation in this field and promote inclusive growth, adding that besides the achievements, there is still room for ASEM member countries to boost cooperation, as the forum accounts for 60 percent of the world’s population and 55 percent of global GDP.

Dung suggested that in the future, ASEM should step up cooperation and concentrate on policy building to enable the legal system on labour and social protection to be completed. The capacity to cope with challenges and changes also needs strengthening as well as linking social protection and the creation of stable jobs to the shifting models of growth, to fulfil the millennium goals.

He also stressed the need for more cooperation amongst ASEM member countries in specific areas, such as job generation and vocational training, and prioritising vulnerable groups such as young and disabled people.

Dung stated that Vietnam will do it utmost to consolidate friendship and cooperation amongst ASEM member countries, which will contribute positively to peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region and the world.

The previous ASEM Labour and Employment Ministers’ Conferences were held in Germany’s Potsdam, Indonesia’s Bali in and Holland’ Leaden, to implement the ASEM leaders’ conclusions at the ASEM Summit in October 2010 which was held in Belgium.

The conference has two discussion sessions that will focus on policies to create employment, including youth and other vulnerable groups, and pinpoint future challenges to social protection, the social responsibilities of enterprises and health and safety issues in the work place.-VNA