Vietnam is entering a new, important phase of its international integration process, which will offer the country both development opportunities and challenges, said Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh.

Speaking at a seminar in Ho Chi Minh City on February 6, the Deputy PM noted 2015 is a year of significance as the country races to fulfil the 2011-2015 socio-economic development plan while contributing to multilateral cooperative mechanisms focusing on the formation of the ASEAN Community and key free trade negotiations.

He emphasized that once completed, the FTAs will help Vietnamese businesses import machines and materials with higher quality and lower prices so that they can reduce their production costs, increase competitiveness and expand export markets. At the same time, the country has to brace itself to meet higher standards and cope with fiercer competition, he said.

The Government official called for more efforts to speed up institutional reform, perfect policies and laws, improve management capacity and increase the competitiveness of both the Government and businesses.

Describing Ho Chi Minh City as the locomotive of the country’s socio-economic development and international integration, he said that the city’s enterprises should be the first to seize opportunities offered by international integration and also overcome challenges arising during the process.-VNA