A workshop was held in Ho Chi Minh City on January 28 to update the press and business community on information pertaining to the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) which is slated to be formed in late 2015.

The event aims to help participants, especially businesses, to understand better about the opportunities and challenges posed by the country’s integration process so that they can build effective strategies for economic integration in the coming time, said the head of the Ho Chi Minh City Office of the Party Central Committee’s Commission for Popularisation and Education, Dao Van Lung.

Vietnam will accelerate preparations, particularly those related to the legal framework and capacity to carry out international commitments, for economic integration, Deputy Chief of the Office of the National Committee for International Economic Cooperation Trinh Minh Anh said. He added that the business community and localities should actively join in the integration process.

Participants agreed on the need to promote communication work to enhance awareness of the AEC, proposing that central agencies coordinate with local authorities in this work.

A recent survey conducted by the Ministry of Planning and Investment revealed that 76 percent of domestic firms had no knowledge about the AEC, 94 percent did not understand the content of AEC-related negotiations, while 63 percent were unaware of the opportunities and challenges involved in the AEC participation.

When the economic community is formed, there will be a free flow of human resources among member countries, which might put Vietnam at risk of brain drain and boost competition from other labour markets that possess better skills and higher productivity.

The AEC is expected to be formed by the end of this year. ASEAN has 10 member countries, namely Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, with an estimated combined GDP of 2.5 trillion USD.-VNA