Ha Noi, 27 October 2010

PR-101027

The Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, H.E. Nguyen Tan Dung, said a better connected ASEAN region will benefit both businesses and consumers, and that the former should capitalise on the various government policies that encourage business development. He said this at the 2010 ASEAN Business and Investment Summit, which is taking place in Ha Noi until tomorrow.

“Enterprises will benefit from greater efficiency of the economy, while consumers will have a wider range of choices. Enterprises should make the most of the opportunities offered by policy programmes established by ASEAN governments to enhance connectivity, boost trade and investment activities, including Public-Private Partnerships,” urged the Prime Minister.

He added that a better connected ASEAN will create a chain among enterprises in the region, including East Asia, further labour allocation, enhance competitiveness, narrow the rich-poor gap, all of which will in turn maintain social stability.

He also committed that Viet Nam, being a market economy and a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), will always be an active and responsible Member State of ASEAN and improve the regional business climate. He quoted that Viet Nam’s trade turnover has increased at a rate of 15 to 20 per cent annually, 25 per cent of which comprise two-way trade between Viet Nam and the rest of its ASEAN neighbours.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung highlighted that Viet Nam has achieved much economic success in the past quarter of a century. He said for example, Viet Nam’s economy had grown at an average of 7.8 per cent for the past 25 years, including 7 per cent during the 2006-2010 period when the world was struggling to cope with and recover from the economic crisis. “We encourage businesses to come and invest on the ground, in Viet Nam – including foreign enterprises. Your success is our success,” he concluded.

The Secretary-General of ASEAN, Dr Surin Pitsuwan, said business which recognises ASEAN’s connectivity and potential will be the winners. “Enterprises which bank on ASEAN as a well-connected region will benefit from ASEAN’s role as an integrated business and investment hub,” he said.

“We are more integrated than we think we are. We should not underestimate ASEAN’s clear capability to be a regional and international business hub. Enterprises which are aware and confident of this immense potential will reap the rewards,” he said.

He added that the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity, which will be adopted by the ASEAN Leaders later this week at the 17th ASEAN Summit, will serve as a catalyst to indirectly multiply business opportunities and create new ones, which, if tapped upon, will accelerate the economic growth of the region.

The ASEAN Business and Investment Summit is held annually at the sideline of the ASEAN Summit. This year, the Business and Investment Summit highlights the progress of the Common Effective Preferential Tariff (CEPT) for ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) which has been eliminated for intra-ASEAN trade activities, with interactive sessions to promote ASEAN’s integration into the global economy, address free trade agreements, comprehensive partnership (CEP) agreements, and other agreements with dialogue and major trading partners.

Participants will also discuss the future of ASEAN Economic Community, ASEAN competitiveness and sustainable development, and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and micro-enterprises being ASEAN’s growth engines. Dialogue Partners such as China, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea and New Zealand, will also brief the participants on the progress and potentials of ASEAN’s free trade agreements with those countries.

The two-day Summit is organised by the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC), co-organised by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and supported by the ASEAN Chambers of Commerce and Industry, East Asia Business Council and the Greater Mekong Sub-region Business Forum. It is co-hosted by the Government Office of Viet Nam, and its Ministries of Foreign Affairs and of Industry and Trade.