March, 01 2012 09:52:00

WTO membership will boost global integration


The 90m water-depth jack-up drilling rig, manufactured domestically for the first time, was launched in Vung Tau. Viet Nam has become one of only three Asian countries and 10 nations worldwide to build a jack-up drilling rig of international standards recognised by the American Bureau of Shipping. — VNA/VNS Photo Manh Duong
HA NOI— Future economic integration will draw significant benefits from Viet Nam's joining the World Trade Organisation (WTO), a seminar heard.

Entitled, "Five Years as a WTO Member - To what extent of global trade integration Viet Nam was and is to be", the event was held by the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) in the capital yesterday, in the framework of the "Enterprises and International Trade Policies" programme supported by EU-Viet Nam MUTRAP III.

At the seminar, which attracted hundreds of businesses, associations and domestic and foreign experts, participants said that Viet Nam had made great strides in economic development over the past five years since it first became a WTO member.

In this time, the country managed to establish a market economy, develop domestic and international trade, which helped boost export with an average growth of 17 per cent per year, and lure more foreign direct investment (FDI), Senior Economist Pham Chi Lan said.

In particular, she said, the competitiveness of many Vietnamese products improved significantly with about eight commodities fetching export turnovers of over US$ 3 billion per year.

However, she noted that the biggest challenges to the country's deeper integration into the global economy included the global financial crisis and the fluctuation in world energy and food prices. Affected by both the global crisis and existing weaknesses in the domestic economy, gross domestic product (GDP) growth has declined in the past few years.

However, the economy is predicted to stabilise and develop in the near future, Lan said, saying that meanwhile, integration is expected to benefit from WTO partnership while helping Viet Nam carry out Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations and other Free Trade agreements.

Viet Nam is forecast to develop higher levels of economic standards in accordance with WTO commitments, a foreign expert said.

Over the next few years, participants agreed that Vietnamese businesses must improve their competitive edges.

At the meeting, Vo Tri Thanh, from the Central Institute for Economic Management, said that the combination of integration commitments to promote the establishment and refinement of the market economy status is an important element in creating trust and development potential. Viet Nam's economic reform contributes to enhancing internal strength and investment, especially foreign direct investment (FDI), develop business, expand foreign markets and better explore the domestic market.

He suggested that while utilising comparative advantages, it is essential for Vietnamese businesses to move up along the value chain by diversifying or differentiating export products and strengthening non-price competitiveness; attracting efficient FDI or strategic partners and improving labour and management skills.

In addition, Tran Huu Huynh, president of the WTO Centre under the VCCI, said that the Government has issued an instruction requiring the WTO negotiation team to consult businesses and associations before negotiations. — VNS

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