January, 31 2013 11:09:20

Trade pact would lead to mixed blessings


Workers at Ca Mau Frozen Seafood Processing Import Export Co sort through produce for export. — VNA/VNS Photo Le Huy Hai
HA NOI (VNS)— Policy-makers and experts have publicly stated that joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement will help accelerate the trade in Vietnamese exports, especially to the US market, for items including textiles, seafood, footwear and wooden products.

The consensus was reached during a seminar on the Trans-Pacific partnership and the potential benefits and opportunities it offers businesses.

It was argued that joining the agreement will help improve Viet Nam's position in the international arena and enhance its relationships with global partners.

However, it was acknowledged that the agreement also creates pressure on the open market, and increases international competition for Vietnamese companies. Some local industries, including agriculture, industry and services have not yet developed at a fast enough pace to remain competitive, a situation worsened by challenges facing revisions of the legal system and a lack of human resources.

Le Thanh An, US General Consul in HCM City, said that in recent years the opening up of trade had deeply impacted the lives of local people. Vietnamese farm produce in particular is now exported to many countries while many products manufactured locally in export processing zones in industrial parks have been sold on a large scale to the international market.

He said that foreign enterprises bring technology and knowledge to the country, which in combination with the tariff incentives offered by the TPP can enhance productivity and trade. The US has already pledged to support Viet Nam in its TPP negotiations.

Ngo Chung Khanh, Deputy Director of the Multilateral Trade Policy Department at the Ministry of Industry and Trade said the country must overcome a series of challenges in the negotiation process to ensure the interests of the country are met. Currently some businesses face having to adapt their operations to meet the demand of international partners. The US has requested that Viet Nam's textile and garment products use different fabrics as currently around 80 per cent of these products fail to meet US requirements.

Textile trade is a major issue in the ongoing TPP negotiations, which aim to establish a fee-trade zone across the Pacific.

As of November, 2010, Viet Nam officially joined the negotiations of the TPP Agreement. The number of participants has increased to 11 countries and Viet Nam has discussed negotiations on 15 occasions and is expected to reach a conclusion in 2013. — VNS

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