Head of Directorate: Oliver Massmann

Oliver Massmann, lawyer and entrepreneur, is the general director of Duane Morris Vietman LCC. He speaks fluent German, English and Vietnamese and has extensive knowledge in respect to bringing Western enterprises onto the ASEAN markets.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (abbr. ASEAN) is an international organisation of Southeast Asian countries counting 10 member states such as Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Sultanate of Brunei, Thailand and Vietnam comprising approximately 600 billion residents (around 8% of the world population) covering an area of nearly 4,5 billion square kilometres (around 1% of the earth’s surface). Hence, with regards to figure and size the ASEAN region is comparable to the EU.

The ASEAN Free Trade Area (abbr. AFTA) is an agreement between the ASEAN countries with the purpose of facilitating the economic collaboration within the free trade zone. The targets of the AFTA are as follows:

  • improving the basic economic position on the world market by decreasing customs barriers amongst its member states
  • enhancing the attraction of the ASEAN economic region for foreign investors

The China-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement came into force on July 1, 2005 and – comprising 1.7 trillion people – constitutes the largest free trade area on earth. After the customs borders have disappeared, this region is considered the worldwide biggest domestic market – about 4 times larger than the EU.

It is the objective of the Diplomatic Council Directorate ASEAN to support enterprises to gain a foothold in these markets. Since Vietnam was accepted as a member to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), it also belongs to the best countries of entry to access the China-ASEAN free trade area. The current privatisation wave in Vietnam includes entire sectors such as banks, energy and telecommunication.

Download Presentation: Doing Business in the new ASEAN Economic Community