International conference: “Participation in ASEAN Economic Community: International Experience and Implications for Vietnam”

Chaired delegation at the first session of the conference conference
On 11th Oct, 2013, VNU-UEB successfully organized the international conference “Participation in ASEAN Economic Community: International Experience and Implications for Vietnam” which was co-funded by Friedrich Naumann Fund (FNF) and the Ministry of Science and Technology.

The conference was aimed at enhancing academic and practical exchange and providing a forum for sholars, local and international professionals and practitioners to discuss economic integration experience of ASEAN countries in participating and contributing to establishment of ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by 2015. The conference also aims at suggesting some policy implications for Vietnam to participate in AEC. The conference was organized within the framework of the National Project "AEC in the New Context of the World and Participation of Vietnam",  KX.01/11-15, leaded by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nguyen Hong Son (Rector of VNU-UEB).
Attending the conference were representatives from central agencies, the National Assembly Office of Vietnam, Office of the President, the Central Theoretical Council, representatives of Ministries and Departments such as the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the National Committee of International Economic Cooperation, the State Securities Commission of Vietnam, the National Financial Supervisory Commission of Vietnam,  representatives of local leaders (Thai Nguyen, Bac Giang), representatives of Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF), representatives of Delegation of the EU to Vietnam and some  ambassadors of ASEAN countries  in Vietnam. In addition, the representatives of research institutes, lecturers from economic,,business and management related universities, representatives of international organizations and VNU-UEB partners also attended the conference.
The representatives of VNU-UEB included the management board, leaders from faculties, lecturers, and students. The conference also attracted the attention of a wide range of  media agencies.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nguyen Hong Son – VNU-UEB Rector delivered the opening speech conference

Panorama of the conferenceconference


After more than 40 years of establishment, ASEAN has been a successful regional organization promoting economic, cultural – social and politcal cooperation regionally and internationally. The consensus of building the AEC with Political - Security Community and –Socio-Cultural Community in 2015 has expressed a new step in the process of ASEAN cooperation.
Vietnam recognizes that positive and proactive participation to AEC will bring about enormous benefits to the member countries. However, implementation of AEC of Vietnam still faces with many difficulties. In this context, enhancing mutual understanding and sharing experiences among countries in the process of ASEAN economic integration are essential.
Assoc.Prof.Dr. Nguyen Hong Son said: "VNU-UEB would like national and international scholars and practitioners  who participate in this conference will initiatively and actively raise ideas in collaboration with VNU-UEB to contribute to success of Vietnam in  roadmap of integration into AEC".

Mr. Mai Xuan Hung - Vice Chairman of the Economic Committee of the National Assembly...


...and Mr. Hans-Georg Jonek - Chief Representative of FNF in Vietnam delivered welcome speech and emphasized meaning of the conference

Mr. Mai Xuan Hung - Vice Chairman of the Economic Committee of the National Assembly had welcome speech, which emphasized that the integration within ASEAN is always a priority of the Government of Vietnam. Mr. Hans-Georg Jonek - Chief Representative of FNF in Vietnam on behalf on the conference’s donor shared the views of FNF on the meaning and significance of this conferenceconference towards establishment of the AEC in 2015.
The conference consisted of two main sessions, in which the first session discussed the AEC from perspective of international organizations.


Mr. Sanjay Kalra - IMF Resident Representative in Vietnam analyzed prospects of ASEAN countries and challenges before AEC establishment

Mr. Sanjay Kalra - IMF Resident Representative in Vietnam made a presentation of analyzing achievements and prospects of the ASEAN countries, which focused on issues such as trade, investment and positive impacts of integration of ASEAN member countries. He also mentioned the difficulties and the challenges that the ASEAN countries have to confront such as the development gap, the perceived problems of community about the AEC, and the social security issues.

Mr. Franz Jessen - Ambassador, Head of EU Delegation to Vietnam analyzed the lessons of economic integration in Europe

The next presentation was from Mr. Franz Jessen - Ambassador, Head of EU Delegation to Vietnam on "EU - ASEANRelations: Looking forward". He summarized and compared two of integration processes between EU and ASEAN and analyzed similarities and differences between two alliances Europe and ASEAN. He also gave lessons to ASEAN from the process of European economic integration and recommended some commitments that the EU and ASEAN could do together toward future. He concluded by remarking that EU - ASEAN relationship is growing more than ever and ready to grow.
The participants then discussed several questions such as whether  the AEC will be established in 2015 or how to have an effective program to get the most benefit for people.
Answering the above two questions, according to the IMF's representative, at the moment, tariff barriers have been reduced and some tariff items are almost zero. Basically, policies of Vietnam have many changes. However, there are still many difficulties, particularly the liberalization of non-tariff barriers. With current economic problems, Vietnam should take about 2-3 years to stabilize the economy and create competition with other countries.
The representative of the European Union Delegation in Vietnam said at the time of EU integration, all of countries had prepared readily. But in Vietnam and ASEAN, there is lack of this preparation process. Therefore, Mr. Franz Jessen emphasized that Vietnam must carefully prepare for the integration and the delegation is willing to share these experiences.
The participants also discussed the necessity to analyze experience of Vietnam (such as development gap, institutional differences and benefits of members) when participating in some international economic organizations previously,. evaluated and gave ​​recommendations for Vietnam in joining the AEC. Some questions were raised for attention such as what the impacts on Vietnam economy are when joining the AEC, what challenges of Vietnam are when joining AEC and how to solve.
In the second session of the conference, discussions focused on AEC participating experience of ASEAN countries and recommendations for Vietnam.


Prof.Dr. Do Duc Dinh highlighted main factors in the success of ASEAN, and draw out lessons for successfully joining AEC

The discussion presentation on "ASEAN Economic Community: Key factors to success in the past and the future" was presented by Prof.Dr. Do Duc Dinh (expert of Institute for Africa and Middle East Studies). He expressed key factors which brought the success of ASEAN and thereby drew out the points that need to be promoted and issues that need to be resolved towards establishment of the AEC.

Dr. Vo Tri Thanh - Deputy Director, Central Institute for Economic Management said that community should have a more optimistic view about the AEC

The presentation on "ASEAN Economic Integration, the AEC and Vietnam" of Dr. Vo Tri Thanh - Deputy Director of Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM) highlighted some important points such as the AEC goals set out from now to 2015 (what should be done, how goas are implemented; the connectivity and central role of ASEAN in regional integration), the vision of AEC after 2015 and finally preparation of Vietnam for establishing the AEC in 2015 and period after 2015. He asserted that the establishment of AEC is inevitable. From now to 2015, Vietnam and ASEAN countries still have many problems that need to be addressed, but it is a process, and economic community should have a more optimistic view of the AEC.
Related to discussion on challenges in implementing commitments towards establishing the AEC in 2015, some ideas show that the current main challenge is the awareness of the AEC community has not been extensive; many ASEAN members are impatient in implementation; and infrastructure and involved mechanisms have not met practical requirements. All delegates agreed that one of weaknesses and also a challenge in this activity is that updating information of AEC establishment and communication of AEC haven’t brought about good result, especially for enterprises and economic organizations. Mr. Can Van Luc - Expert (BIDV) noted that financial integration is necessary in order to facilitate trade and investment integration, however, the government should have suitable policies to regulate and monitor.
One of the opinions which was agreed by the participants is the necessity to have more conferences on this topic for research activities and communication to understand more about AEC and and research activities should be coordinated between universities and businesses.
After 4 hours of hard working, the conferenceconference was successful and received a lot of high quality comments. On behalf of the conference organizers, Assoc.Prof.Dr. Nguyen Hong Son thanked for attention and comments of the participants, and the coordination and support from the donors. He said that studying of AEC will be continuously implemented by VNU - UEB and hope that VNU-UEB will continue to get support and cooperation from experts, organizations and businesses.

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