See More on Facebook

Economics, News

Intra-Asean trade needs to be increased: Vietnam PM

He also says grouping should maintain its consensus-based system, step up integration.


Written by

Updated: September 11, 2018

Asean should maintain its consensus-based system and strengthen trade across the region, Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said yesterday, as Hanoi prepares to host the World Economic Forum on Asean starting today.

“Making Asean into a community requires consensus, unity and agreement,” Mr Phuc said in an e-mailed reply to questions from The Straits Times. “Asean needs to maintain this spirit in its activities and relationships with others.”

Intra-Asean trade is about a quarter of Asean’s total trade, he pointed out. “To enhance (the bloc’s) economic potential, Asean countries need to increase integration, trade and investment within the bloc, and at the same time expand economic cooperation with partners and promote the leading role of Asean in regional economic integration,” he said.

More than 1,000 participants from 43 countries are attending the three-day forum. Speakers include Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and China’s Vice-Premier Hu Chunhua, as well as 80 specially selected South-east Asian start-ups.

These fledgling businesses, which are developing products and services like syariah-compliant bitcoin and fertilisers that reduce the emission of global-warming contributor nitrous oxide, have their own programme to share their stories of disrupting traditional commerce and exchange tips on funding and growing their businesses.

This is the second time the regional event is in Vietnam. The first was in Ho Chi Minh City in 2010.

Since then, Vietnam’s economy has been one of the strongest performers in South-east Asia. In the first half of this year, its gross domestic product grew 7 per cent, as it maintained the momentum from its 6.8 per cent full-year growth last year. Foreign direct investment inflows also hit a record US$17.5 billion (S$24 billion) last year.

But like the rest of Asean, it faces several headwinds. While increasing automation threatens to take away many of the labour-intensive jobs that continue to drive regional economies, the ongoing trade spat between China and the United States could threaten supply chain networks woven through the bloc. Meanwhile, US interest rate hikes have put downward pressure on regional currencies, especially in Indonesia and the Philippines.

Vietnam has a booming digital economy but bloated bureaucracy that Mr Phuc’s government has been trying to trim. “Policies have to create motivation and opportunities for people and entrepreneurs to do business,” he said. “At the same time, we use the satisfaction of people and entrepreneurs as the measure to evaluate the effectiveness of policies.”

Mr Phuc pledged to accelerate digitalisation in areas like agricultural management, logistics and health. “This will promote quality and efficiency in service industries and increase competitiveness of our industries while creating a big market to grow our digital economy,” he said. “This will let Vietnam take a big step towards the future.”



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


About the Author: The Straits Times is Singapore's top-selling newspaper.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Economics, News

Mahathir chairs economic meeting, cost of living takes centre stage

The Economic Action Council’s main aim is to spur and stimulate sustainable economic growth. Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad chaired the first meeting of the  Economic Action Council (EAC), which had tackling the cost of living high on the agenda. The meeting on Wednesday (March 20) looked at measures to improve the living standards of the B40 group. The Economic Affairs Ministry, which acts as the secretariat to the EAC, said that three papers were presented by representatives from the ministry, as well as the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry. “Aside from the cost of living, the idea of social entrepreneurship as a platform to improve the livelihood of B40 households was also brought to the meeting’s attention, as well as the implementation of decisions made by the National Action Coun


By The Star
March 21, 2019

Economics, News

Rahul tears into PM Modi over job losses, calls PM a ‘joke’

The country’s unemployment rate was reportedly at a 45-year-high of 6.1 per cent in 2017-18. Turning up the heat on Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the reported high rate of unemployment and job losses in the country, Congress party president Rahul Gandhi, on Wednesday, alleged that Modi’s policies “destroyed” thousands of jobs in 2018 alone and that “India’s PM is a joke”. Seeking to turn the focus back on the issue of lack of jobs and employment opportunities for the country’s youths, Gandhi tagged a fresh media report which, quoting the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) data, stated that for the first time since 1993-94, the actual size of India’s male workforce has shrunk. The  NSSO report is based on the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) which was conducted between July 2017 and June 2018 ~ the Modi government has not officially released the report so far. According


By The Statesman
March 21, 2019

Economics, News

Is Kim Jong-un considering ‘new way’?

Post Hanoi summit failure, speculation grows on what new mode of defense may be. Following the failure to reach an agreement at last month’s summit between the US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Hanoi, tension has been building between the two sides, threatening the negotiations that they have built over the past year. While the breakdown of their second meeting did not lead to a war of words, North Korea said it was considering suspending talks with the United States, while Washington accused Pyongyang of “not doing what it needs to do.” The communist leader warned in his New Year’s speech this year he would have to find a new way for defending the North if the US did not keep its promises. As the US appears to have no intention of taking the “commensurate measures” the North seeks for the denuclearization steps it has taken, speculation has grown as to whether


By The Korea Herald
March 20, 2019

Economics, News

Opinion: Japan must return to being South-east Asia’s top trade partner

Singapore’s Ambassador-at-Large Tommy Koh called on Japan to return to Asean as its top investor, as it was in the 1970s and 1980s. Veteran diplomats jousted at a public forum here over the question of whether Japan is sufficiently invested in South-east Asia, amid the former’s concerns about China’s growing influence in the region. Singapore’s Ambassador-at-Large Tommy Koh called on Japan to return to Asean as its top investor, as it was in the 1970s and 1980s. “You were Asean’s number one trade partner. Now you are number four. You were also number one in foreign direct investments. Now you are not. You have lost so much ground in South-east Asia,” he said.


By The Straits Times
March 20, 2019

Economics, News

South Korea says punishing women for abortion unconstitutional

The decision was made by the country’s National Human Rights Commission. The National Human Rights Commission of Korea has delivered its opinion to the Constitutional Court that criminal penalties for women who undergo abortion, as well as doctors who perform them, are unconstitutional. The current law on abortion violates the right to self-determination, among others, the rights panel said Monday. Marking the first time the rights panel has ever expressed an official position on the highly volatile issue, it sent its statement to the court last week ahead of next month’s ruling on the constitutionality of the nation’s abortion laws.


By The Korea Herald
March 19, 2019

Economics, News

Dialogue important after India-Pakistan crisis

As India and Pakistan wake up to the real possibilities of war, it is time to give dialogue another chance. Although the 2019 India-Pakistan standoff may have passed its immediate intensity, it is clear that the entire episode has left a slew of new worries for policymakers all over the world. It is crucial that lessons are learnt and crisis-handling procedures between the two countries put in place. Because there is no doubt that Pakistan and India were perilously close to war. In a digital age, resonating with the red noise of alternative facts fuelled by ultra-nationalisms, it was clear that the Modi regime’s need to bolster its flagging electoral ratings before an election took the Indian act of border incursion into Pakistan’s Ba


By Dawn
March 15, 2019