|PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc says ASEAN is a safe place for investment globally
Phuc, in his capacity as ASEAN 2020 Chair, made the call at a three-day online meeting jointly held by the Standard Chartered Bank and the Reuters news agency under the theme “Unlocking the Region’s Potential”. The event brings together senior leaders of enterprises and organizations from Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the United States.
In his speech, Prime Minister Phuc said that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken its heavy toll on the world in general and ASEAN in particular, causing economic activities and services to grind to a halt, forcing many businesses to face bankruptcy, and robbing tens of millions of their jobs.
Faced with such hurdles, Phuc said ASEAN has actively cooperated with partners in implementing conclusions made at ministerial-level meetings with the United States, Australia, and the European Union, as well as joint statements adopted at the ASEAN summit and ASEAN +3 summit with China, Japan and the Republic of Korea in Hanoi in April 2020.
With a combined GDP of nearly US$3,000 billion, a population of more than 630 million, and increasing income, he said ASEAN is a big enough market for many large corporations around the world to invest in.
To weather the COVID-19 crisis and move forward, he said ASEAN countries should continue to unite, maintain stability, promote the bloc’s central role in regional economic cooperation and prioritize cooperation with partner countries and other businesses. He noted that while some multilateral forums, such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO), are facing difficulties, the ASEAN Economic Community can be considered a ‘safe place’ for mutually beneficial cooperation.
The PM affirmed that ASEAN will uphold the rule of law and build stable and sustainable cooperation frameworks, especially for the development of the digital economy. The bloc is striving to invest in developing both soft and hard infrastructure, with a focus on improving the quality of human resources for effective investment and business activities.
In addition, he said ASEAN will work to narrow the development gap and expand cooperation in the Mekong Sub-region which still holds great potential for business and investment cooperation.
Last but not least, the Vietnamese PM affirmed that the bloc attaches great importance to the companionship between the business community and the governments.
“ASEAN and Vietnam welcome businesses, come and join us for action and success,” Phuc said.
According to the Vietnamese PM, Vietnam joined ASEAN 25 years ago and it has now signed 13 free trade agreements (FTAs), including the big ones such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in 2019 and the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) in 2020.
Vietnam’s business and investment environment has improved a lot over the years, facilitating foreign operations in the country. Currently Vietnam has more than 32,000 FDI projects in operation with a total capital of more than US$380 billion coming from 140 countries and partners.
During the three-day event, speakers from the public and private sectors will discuss ASEAN’s trade opportunities amid the ongoing geopolitical challenges, as well as strategies for businesses to sustain and promote growth.