The ASEAN Economic Community has existed for two years, yet there are few signs of Vietnamese enterprises in this marketplace. This was the opinion of many participants in the seminar held recently in Hanoi as part of activities to mark the 50th anniversary of ASEAN.

Only after the US withdrawal from Trans-Pacific Partnership did Vietnam focus on the ASEAN Economic Community or AEC. The delayed participation has resulted in a decrease of 9 percent year-on-year in the country’s export turnover within the ASEAN bloc in 2016while imports from neighbouring countries remain high, showing that domestic firms have fallen behind in seizing opportunities from the AEC.

When it comes to exports, most enterprises think of the US, EU or Japan instead of the ASEAN. They also tend to draw investment from highly developed countries other than neighbouring ones.

The influx of Thai retailers into Vietnam’s marketplace and mergers of Thai investors with supermarket chains of Metro and BigC, among others, have proved the neighbouring country’s ability to make use of the AEC.

Vietnam is a profitable market for businesses. It is high time the country took up this opportunity by paying proper attention to the AEC.-VNA