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Prime Minister arrives in Singapore for ASEAN summit
11-18-2007, 01:03 am


ASEAN Leaders (Photo by Reuters)

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung arrived in Singapore on November 18 to attend the 13 th Summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and related meetings.

PM Dung participated in the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (ABIS) on the afternoon of the same day.

Addressing the function, the Vietnamese leader said he appreciated the ASEAN Business Advisory Council’s (ABAC) work in hosting the summit, an important event for governments and businesses in the region.

He said he believed that the “ASEAN in the heart of dynamic Asia ” meeting will find suitable directions and measures for cooperation to help move the group closer to establishing an ASEAN Economic Community.

As an ASEAN member, Viet Nam has actively participated and contributed to ASEAN multi-sided cooperation fields, including building the ASEAN Economic Community, the PM said.

In the past 12 years, economic, trade and investment cooperation between Viet Nam and other ASEAN members has increased steadily.

Prime Minister Dung told the business summit that 2006’s trade turnover between Viet Nam and other ASEAN members reached more than 20 billion USD, a year-on-year rise of 40 percent. This represented 25 percent of the country’s foreign trade.

Nearly 1,000 ASEAN-invested projects are now operating in Viet Nam with combined capital of more than 13 billion USD, accounting for 20 percent of the country’s total foreign investment. Meanwhile, Viet Nam has invested 700 million USD into other ASEAN member countries.

The country has also expanded economic, trade and investment ties with non-ASEAN members, including ASEAN partners.

So far, Viet Nam has set up trade relations with 220 countries and territories, with 80 directly investing in the country.

According to the Vietnamese PM, one of ASEAN’s major and important contributions in the past 15 years has been to boost economic and trade liberalisation and internal economic unions. However, the internal trade market share accounts for only 25 percent of the bloc’s total trade value.

Since 2002, besides enhancing internal cooperation, ASEAN has expanded economic relations by setting up free trade areas (FTAs) with important partners.

To reach its target of forming an ASEAN Economic Community by 2015, PM Dung also suggested continuing the promotion of internal economic unions and establishing larger FTAs with non-ASEAN members, as well as developing FTAs with China , the Republic of Korea , Japan , India , Australia , New Zealand and the EU between 2010-2020.

He also said economic cooperation between ASEAN and key partners such as the US , Russia and Canada should further develop.

The same day, PM Dung received Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Haruhiko Kuroda, where he spoke of Viet Nam ’s wish for effective cooperation with ADB, especially in the development of transport, power systems and schools.

He also asked ADB for further assistance in economic development programmes, particularly those focusing on transport systems such as the Ha Noi-Lao Cai and Ha Noi-Lang Son highways. (VNA)

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