Economic Integration in East Asia and Implications for Vietnam’s Enterprises

On 22nd August 2015, VNU University of Economics and Business (UEB) together with Economic Integration Inter-Agency Steering Committee organized Conference on International Economic Cooperation and Integration 2015 (CIECI 2015) themed “Economic Integration in East Asia and Implications for Vietnam’s Enterprises” in Hanoi, funded by Friedrich Naumann Foundation StiftungFür Die Freiheit (FNF) and the Japan Foundation.

The conference was attended by Assoc.Prof.Dr. Nguyen Hong Son - Rector of the UEB, Dr. Nguyen Anh Thu - Vice Rector, Mr. Trinh Minh Anh - Representative of Economic Integration Inter-Agency Steering Committee, Mr. Hans - Georg Jonek, Country Director of Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF) in Vietnam, and representatives from government bodies, ministries, research institutes, other universities of economic, business, management and enterprises.

Assoc.Prof.Dr. Nguyen Hong Son - Rector of the UEB delivered the opening speech at the conference

The objectives of the conference was to provide a forum for scholars, professionals to review the East Asian integration through discussions among experts, representatives of state agencies and enterprises; to analyze opportunities and challenges of integration for businesses in Vietnam, and set out the policy implications for governments and enterprises in order to achieve effective Vietnam's integration into the region.

The conference was divided into two sessions. The first session focused on the issue of economic integration in East Asia. This session analyzed the current status of trade and investment in the ASEAN+3 (ASEAN and the three countries in Northeast Asia, including China, Korea and Japan), which highlighted the formation production networks and supply chains in sectors such as transportations, electronics, that has led to an increase in cross-industry trade in particular and in the total value of trade generally. First session also examined the impact of Japan’s EPAs (FTA - Free Trade Agreement) in reducing the barriers between the partners. Certain EPAs appeared to be more superficial such as Japan and Singapore, while the others had more substantial impact in instance of Vietnam and Japan (2008).

Dr. Nguyen Anh Thu presented the discussion at the conference

Second session of the conference emphasized the implications for businesses in the context of East Asian economic integration. Vietnam has signed several trade agreements within the framework of ASEAN and ASEAN+3. Particularly China, South Korea and Japan were assessed as strong economies with large markets, which could expand opportunities of trade and investment with Vietnam.

However, the competition from the goods supplied by other strong countries in the region, especially China or technological giants like Japan and Korea, remains an obstacle for Vietnamese enterprises. Without innovation or development to enhance competitiveness, many industries, in particularly automobile businesses, will encounter difficulties and challenges with the integration process.

The conference received many feedbacks from participants. Dr. Luu Bich Ho emphasized the role of businesses in the integration process, marking that improvement in the competitiveness of all aspects (productivity, quality, efficiency etc.) is an important factor in order to conform to the conditions of integration. In addition, participants also gave many questions on various issues such as the decisive factor for the promotion of the integration process of ASEAN+3 , why Vietnam keep joining many EPAs regardless of limited resources, and whether too many EPAs could have negative impacts?

Here are some photos of the conference:

Mr. Hans-Georg Jonek - Country Director of FNF in Vietnam

The conference received great attention from participants

Participants gave comments at the conference.

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Nguyen Tien Minh (FIBE)

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