The new envoy to Poland of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam H.E. Ambassador Vu Dang Dzung and Philippine ambassador to Poland Ms. Patricia Ann Paez exchanged views about the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) during the former’s courtesy call on the latter on 04 April 2017 at the Philippine Embassy in Warsaw.

            Ambassador Vu Dang Dzung, who served as Director General for ASEAN Affairs in Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs prior to his posting to Poland, stressed the need for the 10-member ASEAN to strengthen its unity and to maintain its position in the “driver’s seat” and as a central player in the shaping of developments in Southeast Asia and in the Asia Pacific region. He noted that the move towards full integration of ASEAN is moving steadilly citing the free flow of goods across the ASEAN countries and the significant progress being made to allow the free flow of capital, services, and labor. ASEAN is currently working towards having uniform laws on foreign investments and Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) on 19 identified types of jobs or profession. The MRAs will allow any ASEAN national to work in any of the other countries within the regional grouping since it will provide for the common recognition by all ASEAN members of the academic and training diplomas or certificates earned by an ASEAN national in his native country, thus, qualifying the person for employment in all ASEAN countries.

            Ambassador Paez cited the need to promote and nurture an “ASEAN consciousness” and ASEAN identity among the peoples of ASEAN by making the peoples, especially the present youth, aware of the histories, culture and traditions, faiths, political and economic system, and current situation of each ASEAN member country, along with increasing knowledge about ASEAN itself. She also briefly apprised him about the 5-member ASEAN Committee in Warsaw (ACW) and the activities it will undertake to celebrate the 50th founding anniversary of ASEAN and heighten the projection its profile in Poland. One of the major activities of the ACW will be a Roundtable Conference on the theme “ASEAN Today: 50th Golden Anniversary.”

            Ambassador Paez informed the Ambassador Vu Dang Dzung that the ACW, in partnership with Poland’s Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Polish Chamber of Commerce, among others, held a seminar-conference about the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015 which was also participated in by officials from the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta. She informed that it was the most high profile activity undertaken by the ACW which was very well attended by the business community in Poland and other relevant stakeholders.

            The ASEAN Committee in Warsaw (ACW) is composed of the resident ambassadors to Poland of Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. The Philippines is slated to assume the chairmanship of the ACW in May 2017.