Sun. Apr 21st, 2024

ASEAN economic ministers signed two amended protocols and adopted a
number of important initiatives at their 19 th annual retreat in Hanoi
on March 8, towards the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community
(AEC) by 2015.

The protocols are to amend ASEAN
Economic Agreements Related to Trade in Goods and the ASEAN
Comprehensive Investment Agreement.

During the
two-hour event, participants specified orientations for economic
cooperation in 2013 to realise the goal of building the AEC by 2015, and
discussed initiatives on improving ASEAN competitiveness and
connectivity with partners by building a business network and mechanisms
to facilitate small-and medium-sized enterprises.

They also considered the roadmap for negotiating the Regional
Comprehensive Economic Protocol (RCEP), which manifests ASEAN’s central
and leading role in establishing a regional economic structure.

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Cam Tu said the RCEP
negotiations are expected to start this year and conclude before 2016,
creating the world’s largest free trade area that encompasses 50 percent
of global population and 30 percent of global gross domestic product.

Nguyen Thi Hoang Thuy, Deputy Head of the
Multilateral Trade Policy Department under the Ministry of Industry and
Trade, said ASEAN needs to streamline trade, services, investment and
transport to realise the AEC Blueprint.

Regarding
customs procedures, ASEAN member nations devised a joint customs
strategy for the 2011-2015 period and are striving to implement a
one-door mechanism, making it easier for regional countries to transmit
information via an electronic network.

The
association has implemented self-certification for the origin of
products on a pilot basis, including electricity, electronics,
pharmaceuticals, farm produce and automobiles, gradually building a
coordinated mechanism among the bloc in this field.

ASEAN nations worked out a joint management mechanism on cosmetics,
electricity and electronics, and are building a similar system for
medical equipment, traditional medicine and nutrition supplements.

An action plan for the 2011–2015 period was also drawn.

Aung Naing Oo, who is leading the Myanmar delegation, said due to
great differences in economic development between the group of Cambodia,
Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam and the rest of ASEAN, the region must work
together to bridge the development gap, which is a challenge in the
establishment of the AEC by 2015.-VNA

By vivian