PM Dung: ACMECS focuses on three goals

The Ayeyawadi-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy Summit (ACMECS) should focus on increasing the competitiveness of its member nations by linking markets, forming regional production and supply chains, and improving the quality of human resources.

ACMECS, ASEAN-Japan defence ties, German, Lao legislator
ACMECS member countries' leaders. (Photo: VGP)

This is one of the three main goals that Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung recommended in his speech at the 5th ACMECS chaired by Lao PM Thongsing Thammavong in Vientiane on March 13.

PM Dung said their joint efforts at ACMECS need to support the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community by 2015, ensuring regional sustainable development, and the management and utilisation of natural resources of the Ayeyawadi, Chao Phraya and Mekong rivers.

ACMECS cooperation programmes should focus on promoting trade, investment and tourism collaboration by improving the business environment, promoting regional connectivity through the East-West Economic Corridor (EWEC), the North-South Economic Corridor and the Southern Economic Corridor (SEC) and other transnational transport routes, he added.

According to the PM, it is necessary to boost high-quality human resource development through scholarship and knowledge-exchange programmes among domestic and international vocational training establishments, combining syllabuses with businesses’ demands as well as encourage the business sector to take part in ACMECS projects.

At the summit, leaders adopted the Vientiane Declaration and the ACMECS action programme for the 2013-2015 period, which aims to link ACMECS cooperation with the building of the ASEAN Economic Community by 2015, the implementation of the master plan on ASEAN connectivity, and raise ACMECS member nations’ competitiveness, role and position in global production and supply chains.

The conference reviewed 10 years of ACMESC cooperation, the implementation of the Phnom Penh Declaration and the 2010-2012 action programme in priority cooperation fields such as trade and investment, agriculture, industry and energy, transport, tourism, human resource development, healthcare, social welfare and the environment.

The leaders reaffirmed their commitment to implementing the targets of the Bagan Declaration for the sake of good neighbourliness, peace, stability, and development in the region.

Over the past years, Vietnam’s combined trade turnover with Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand rose from 7.1 billion USD in 2009 to 12.8 billion USD in 2012. In addition, transport among the five countries has considerably improved thanks to the EWEC and SEC as well as the signing and implementation of bilateral and multilateral agreements to facilitate transport, said participants at the conference.

ACMECS 6 will be held in Myanmar next year.

On the day, PM Dung and other leaders talked with the ACMECS business sector, pledging to further improve the business environment and facilitate trade and investment exchange to make ACMECS a top choice of regional and global businesspeople.

Dung highlighted the role of the business sector in national socio-economic development, and regional integration and cooperation. He proposed that the ACMECS Business Council should be involved in implementing the regional action programme for the 2013-2015 period, and hoped to receive feedback from businesses to make prompt adjustments.

The leaders said the efforts of the five countries’ Governments in promoting regional cooperation cannot achieve practical results without the business sector’s support and involvement.

Policies to facilitate trade, investment, tourism, industrial development, energy and human resources aim to create favourable conditions for businesses to make profit, contributing to improving people’s lives and ensuring social security and stability.

Vietnam wants stronger ASEAN-Japan defence ties

Deputy Defence Minister Nguyen Chi Vinh has expressed his hope that ASEAN member nations and Japan will enhance links to ensure maritime security and comply with international law.

At the fourth deputy-ministerial level ASEAN–Japan defence cooperation conference in Tokyo on March 13, Vinh said countries should adopt a proper awareness of regional security, especially the interpretation and application of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and standardise behaviour to international law in an open and transparent manner to ensure maritime security and safety as well as peace in the region.

Major General Vu Tien Trong, Head of the Institute for Defence International Relations, said the event focuses its discussion on the emerging risks of maritime disputes, which require settlement via cooperation based on international law and the 1982 UNCLOS.

Participants at the event hailed Vietnam’s role and contributions to regional defence and security cooperation over the past time.

The Brunei delegation, chair of ASEAN for 2013, expressed its hope to learn from Vietnam’s experience in hosting ASEAN security conferences.

At a reception for ASEAN and its Secretariat representatives, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stressed that the event will enhance capacity and practical defence links between ASEAN and Japan in the future.

Japan pledges to work actively and responsibly within the framework of cooperation mechanisms like the ASEAN Regional Forum and the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus, Abe said.

Japan also vowed to improve capacity, along with ASEAN member nations, to cope with non-traditional security challenges for a region of peace and stability.

On the sidelines of the two-day event, held on the occasion of the 40 th anniversary of ASEAN-Japan friendship and cooperation, bilateral meetings between country representatives and the fourth seminar on security issues were also organised.

Vietnamese, German top legislators hold talks

National Assembly (NA) Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung has affirmed that Vietnam treasures and prioritises the development of cooperation with Germany.

At talks with German NA President Norbert Lammert in Berlin on March 13, Hung thanked the German legislature for supporting the Government in providing official development assistance for Vietnam.

He suggested the two countries and legislatures enhance the exchange of delegations, including their friendship parliamentarian groups, work closely together at multilateral and global organisations.

The two sides need to actively liaise together, share experience in legislation and supervision, and review the implementation of agreements signed between the two countries’ Governments, ministries and departments, Hung said.

Lammert said he believes Hung’s visit will contribute to promoting friendship and links between the two legislatures, and create new opportunities for bilateral, inter-regional and global links.

He affirmed that the German NA always supports the development of ties with Vietnam, contributing to new achievements in the bilateral strategic partnership in the future.

The host legislator proposed the two NAs maintain the exchange of high-level delegations, further expand cooperation among friendship parliamentarian groups, NA agencies and localities.

Earlier, Hung met with Speaker of the Hessen State Parliament Norbert Kartmann and Deputy Prime Minister of Hessen cum Minister of Justice, Integration and Europe Joerg Uwe Hahn.

At these meetings, Hung said that Vietnam attaches importance to cooperation with the state, a leading economic-financial and education centre in Germany and Europe.

The guest highly valued the positive developments in cooperation between Vietnam’s localities and the state in the past years, especially in trade-economics, investment, education-training, justice-legality and cultural exchanges.

Hung informed the hosts that the Vietnamese NA has set up the Vietnam-Germany Friendship Congressmen Group in which some members of its task force have close ties with the state, serving as a bridge to further promote cooperation with Germany and the Hessen’s parliament in particular.

President welcomes Lao legislator

President Truong Tan Sang received Vice Chairman of the Lao National Assembly Somphan Phengkhammy in Hanoi on March 13.

Sang highlighted the close cooperation between the two legislatures over the past time. He praised the two countries’ achievements during the 2012 Special Solidarity and Friendship Year and pledged to do his best to cement the traditional and friendly cooperation between Vietnam and Laos.

Phengkhammy informed Sang of the outcomes of his talks with National Assembly Vice-Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, and added that his working visit aims to share experiences with Vietnam in building a legal document system.

The Lao legislator said he hopes the President and Vietnamese agencies will continue creating all possible favourable conditions for Laos’ high-level delegations in Vietnam. He affirmed Laos support to Vietnam’s stance in hosting forums with parliamentarians from regional countries taking part.

The Lao guest pledged to work with the Vietnamese legislature to deepen effective and sustainable cooperation, therefore contributing to strengthening the Vietnam-Laos special friendship.

Prime Minister meets with Thai, Myanmar leaders

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and his Thai counterpart Yingluck Shinawatra have agreed to prepare a roadmap for the establishment of the Vietnam-Thailand Strategic Partnership during their meeting on the sidelines of regional summits in Vientiane, Laos.

At their meeting on March 12, the two PMs agreed to instruct the two Foreign Ministries to work closely with relevant agencies and departments to devise the roadmap and hold a meeting of the Bilateral Joint Committee within this year.

They noted with joy the development of the friendship and multi-dimensional cooperation between the two countries, especially since the second Vietnam-Thailand Joint Cabinet Retreat in last October.

PM Dung expressed his pleasure at the two countries’ efforts to step up economic cooperation, affirming that the Vietnamese Government always creates favourable conditions for Thai businesses to invest in Vietnam.

He extended his hope that Thai Government will continue encouraging its businesses to invest in Vietnam, especially in the central region, in order to fully tap potentials held by the East-West Economic Corridor.

The two PMs reached consensus on protecting the environment and water resources of the Mekong River.

They voiced their support for ASEAN’s stance stated in the Declaration on Six-Point Principles on the East Sea, relating to the maintenance of peace, stability, and safe and free navigation in the East Sea, the peaceful settlement of disputes on the basis of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982) and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties on the East Sea (DOC), towards building a Code of Conduct on the East Sea (COC).

In 2013, Thailand set to host the 3 rd Thai-Vietnamese Joint Cabinet Retreat and the 3 rd Asia-Pacific Water Summit, which Vietnam is invited to join.

Also on the sidelines of the ongoing regional summits, Dung held a meeting with Myanmar Vice President Sai Mauk Kham on March 13, during which they sought measures to strengthen bilateral cooperation.

The Vietnamese leader congratulated Myanmar on the country’s recent achievements, especially in expanding its external relations to increasingly affirm its role and position in the region and the world at large.

Vietnam attaches great importance to enhancing the traditional friendship and close cooperation with Myanmar, Dung said.

The leader affirmed Vietnam’s support for Myanmar’s successful assumption of the ASEAN Chair in 2014, expressing his hope for Myanmar’s early membership of the Mekong River Commission.

For his part, Sai Mauk Kham highly valued Vietnam’s achievements in economic growth and social welfare as well as its economic restructuring policies and inflation curbing efforts.

He praised Vietnam’s active role and contributions to peace and stability in the region and in building the ASEAN Community.

Both expressed their delight at the fruitful development of the two countries’ relations over the past time, especially in politics, foreign affairs, economics, trade, investment, national security and defence and agriculture.

In an effort to deepen the bilateral ties, the two leaders agreed to increase the exchange of delegations and people-to-people diplomacy while expanding cooperation between localities.

They were unanimous to implement already-reached agreements, focusing on the 12 prioritised areas, and bring into full play cooperation mechanisms to realise two-way trade value target of at least 500 million USD by 2015.

The two sides will also work closely together at regional and international forums, especially ASEAN and the United Nations, ACMECS and GMS.

At the same time, they will coordinate with other ASEAN member countries to promote the common stand and the central role played by the bloc in dealing with regional issues, including those regarding the East Sea.

These meetings were held on the sidelines of the 6 th Cambodia-Laos-Myanmar-Vietnam Summit (CLMV 6), the 5 th Ayeyawadi-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy Summit (ACMECS 5), and the 7 th Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam Development Triangle Summit (CLV 7).

Vietnam, Austria foster trade ties

Vietnamese and Austrian businesspeople met in a forum in Hanoi on March 13 to look for ways leading in boosting the two countries’ economic and trade ties.

The forum was jointly held by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and Austria’s Carinthia Economic Chamber (CEC).

Addressing the event, VCCI Deputy Chairman Doan Duy Khuong pledged that the chamber will create every possible condition for Austrian firms to invest and expand business in Vietnam.

He reiterated the country’s policy of treasuring the promotion of cooperation with traditional friends that include Austria, one of the first Western nations that established diplomatic ties with Vietnam.

Khuong spoke of Vietnam’s population of over 80 million, its position as the gateway to other larger regional markets as well as the government’s ongoing reforms and policies to encourage private sector development and build complete legal institutions, market economic mechanism and infrastructure.

He said he believes that these advantages and efforts will make Vietnam an attractive destination for foreign investors, including those from Austria.

Austrian Ambassador Georg Heindl said Austria is enjoying a good political system and a strongly-developed industry and sees them as huge opportunities to increase trade and investment with Vietnam.

Austria also recognises strong growth potentials in Vietnam in particular and Asia in general so this forum will be a chance for it to continue working with Vietnam for more successes in the future, the diplomat said.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, bilateral trade between the two countries increased robustly, from 175 million USD in 2007 to nearly 1.3 billion USD in 2012. The figure is expected to rise higher in the time to come.


ACMECS, ASEAN-Japan defence ties, German, Lao legislator