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ASEAN Economic Community (AEC)

ASEAN signs AEC declaration

Member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) last week signed a declaration establishing the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), officially marking the process of enhancing trade, investment, service and infrastructure connection and the opening of the labor market.

ASEAN is considered a dynamic market with over 640 million people, total GDP of about $2.48 trillion and a total trade volume of $2.53 trillion in 2014.

"AEC is a major initiative of the leaders of Southeast Asia with ambition to turn the region into a single market, a single manufacturing base in which goods, services, investment, capital and skilled labor are free to circulate in 2015," said Tran Duc Minh, Deputy General Secretary of the Vietnam Economics Association.

As a member of AEC, Vietnam will approach the vast market with nearly 100% of the goods are free to circulate inside the block, will have the opportunity to attract foreign investment thanks to the transparent and equal economic environment, and make use of the free trade agreements of partners of ASEAN.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the member countries of ASEAN are the second largest supplier of goods to Vietnam (just behind China) and the third largest export market of Vietnam (after the US and the European Union).

The total trade turnover between Vietnam and ASEAN countries reached $42.1 billion in 2014, up 57% compared to 2010. A report of the Foreign Investment Department also showed that by the end of October 2015, the ASEAN countries invested more than $56.8 billion in Vietnam.

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