Perceptions and behaviours of Vietnamese firms towards deeper regional economic integration in ASEAN under the ASEAN Economic Community: case studies from the food processing industry
ASEAN - the Association of Southeast Asian Nations - is a model of regional integration. Economic integration is an important component within the ASEAN region. Economic cooperation among countries within a region or countries that share borders can create opportunities for member countries to create larger markets through reducing barriers to trade, investment, capital or labour. It can also help member countries to enhance their competitiveness and integrate with the international market. ASEAN countries are now on the road to establish an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by 2015 aiming at deeper economic integration among member countries. The AEC as a single market and production base could provide larger opportunities for businesses within the region to expand and improve their competitiveness. However, regional economic integration (REI) also poses a number of challenges. Within an REI, firms need to position themselves to take advantage of the likely benefits and to stay competitive. This research explores how some Vietnamese firms in the food processing industry perceive and react to the requirements and the likely impacts of deeper REI under the AEC. The study contributes to the literature on the behaviour of firms towards REI, provides the business community with an approach to business strategies under REI and policy makers in Vietnam with a better understanding of REI strategies.