Vietnam needs to make relevant and specific preparations to raise public awareness of the formation of the ASEAN Community, enhance the country’s economic capacity, and improve its legal system to be able to take full advantage of opportunities and respond to challenges following the Community’s establishment in late 2015, according to a Vietnamese diplomat.


In a recent interview granted to the Jakarta-based Vietnam News Agency correspondent, Head of the Vietnamese permanent delegation to ASEAN Ambassador Vu Dang Dung stressed that the Community will bring both development opportunities and challenges for Vietnam and the other members of the bloc.

However, the majority of small- and medium-sized enterprises in Vietnam have not accessed information on opportunities to be generated by the ASEAN Community, he said, adding that he hopes communication campaigns would be carried out more effectively to expand public awareness of resulting benefits.

The second major preparation is to enhance the capacity of the economy and the business circle, as well as each official and person, the ambassador said. He noted that there is still a substantial development gap between Vietnam and other countries in the region, which is reflected in a low ranking in labour productivity, creativity and human resource quality (27.2 points out of the total 100 points), and the remarkable difference in per capita income (1,908 USD in Vietnam as against 3,837 USD for ASEAN as a whole).

The development gap limits Vietnam’s capacity to fully exploit benefits from the regional economic connectivity and its contributions to ASEAN strategic initiatives and cooperation.

Thirdly, the ambassador underlined the need for the country to modify its legal regulations to improve compatibility with those of other ASEAN countries, creating equal opportunities for Vietnamese businesses and people to benefit from the regional links, including price, quality of goods, education, and health services.

Speaking on Vietnam’s priorities in ASEAN activities this year, Ambassador Dung said the top task will be to work closely with other ASEAN member nations to realise the target of establishing the ASEAN Community by December 31, 2015.

Additionally, Vietnam will join with other regional countries to design a post-2015 ASEAN development vision, contributing to bolstering links within the group, Dung stated.

At the same time, the country will work to promote and deepen the bloc’s relations with existing counterparts as well as establish diverse ties with new potential partners, he affirmed.