Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam commits to working to fulfil ASEAN’s targets in 2018, Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh recently told the media.

In an interview, Anh said as ASEAN Chairman this year, Singapore set priorities for the bloc’s cooperation, including the ASEAN Agreement on Electronic Commerce, establishment of an ASEAN Smart Cities Network, putting ASEAN-wide self-certification of certificates of origin into operation, signing Agreement on Trade in Services, stepping up the implementation of the ASEAN Comprehensive Investment Agreement, and intensifying the bloc’s diplomatic relations.

Vietnam will maintain close coordination with other ASEAN member states in carrying out the AEC 2025 Strategic Action Plan (SAP), while working with them to address problems to ensure the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) brings about fair benefits for all parties.

It will also work with other ASEAN countries in realizing commitments of ASEAN-plus-one free trade agreements (FTAs), including reviewing the second phase of the ASEAN–Australia–New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA), Anh stated.

Notably, in 2018, Vietnam will assume the role of the chairman of the 10th Cambodia-Laos-Myanmar-Vietnam Economic Ministers’ Meeting to be held on the sidelines of the ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Meeting in Singapore, he added.

The minister also said that since joining the ASEAN free trade area in 1996, Vietnam has enjoyed continuous growth in terms of trade with ASEAN. Two-way trade increased by 7.7 folds, from 5.91 billion USD at that time to 45.23 billion USD in the first 11 months of 2017. In the first seven months of this year, import-export value between Vietnam and ASEAN was valued at 28.1 billion USD, of which 12.2 billion USD came from Vietnam’s exports.

Within the framework of the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA), 98 percent of total tariff lines are reduced to zero, Anh said.

To anticipate opportunities brought by the formation of the ASEAN Economic Community by 2025 and bring into full play incentives offered by FTAs within the framework of ASEAN, Vietnamese enterprises should improve their competitiveness, find out an appropriate product structure and better their awareness of Vietnam’s interests and obligations when joining FTAs, he suggested.-VNA