ASEAN Economic Community in effect from December 31.
The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) was officially established on December 31.
It features all three pillars (politics-security, economics, and culture-society) of the ASEAN Community. The region is actively developing, with a combined population of 630 million, total GDP of $2.6 trillion, and trade turnover of $2.53 trillion in 2014.
“ASEAN has brought important and practical benefits to its members and strongly affirmed the value of solidarity and the principles of consensus and unity in overcoming challenges during the course of its development,” Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said in welcoming the establishment.
“The building of the ASEAN Community is a continuous and long term process. The bloc has set up a vision to 2025 that affirms the determination of member countries to continue consolidating and deepening ASEAN connectivity and to build a rule-based and truly people-oriented ASEAN Community that ensures people’s rights and interests, boosts extensive relations with partners, and results in ASEAN gaining an increasingly important role and profile in the region and the world,” he said.
From 2015 Vietnam reduced 93 per cent of its tariffs to zero and most of the remainder will be reduced to zero by 2018. Tariffs include those on motor vehicles and components, iron and steel, motorbike spare parts, machinery, equipment and spare parts, bicycles and spare parts, wine and beer, plastic products, and types of paper.
From 2018, Vietnam will retain tariffs of three to five per cent on intensive agricultural products such as poultry, eggs, rough rice, citrus, sugar, processed meat, and brown rice.
The roadmap for removing tariffs has significantly affected trade turnover between Vietnam and regional countries. ASEAN is the third-largest importer of Vietnamese goods, behind the US and EU. Major items are rice, crude oil, textiles and garments, footwear, seafood, coffee, rubber, computers and electronic products, and iron and steel. ASEAN is also the third-largest source of Vietnam’s imports, behind China and South Korea. Major items include petroleum products, machinery and equipment, home appliances, chemicals, and plastic. Vietnam is making all possible effort to bridge its trade deficit with ASEAN members.