HA NOI (VNS) — Trade liberalisation for environ-mental goods and services has become key to Viet Nam's bilateral and multi-lateral negotiations, and international co-operation.
Pham Minh Nguyen, director of the Institute of Trade Research, said the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) have been the leading international organisations to promote trade liberalisation of goods and services.
Last year, the world trade value for environmental goods and services reached US$4 trillion, demonstrating a high growth rate. The value is expected to reach $10 trillion by 2020.
The United States took the lead in investment in goods and services, reporting an export turnover of $106 billion in 2013 and an annual growth rate of more than eight per cent. The European Union, China, and India followed.
Nguyen told the Trade Liberalisation for Environment Goods and Services workshop, held in Ha Noi yesterday, that the Vietnamese Government had passed several policies to enhance the development of environmental goods and services.
Last year, the market value for Vietnamese goods and services was $20 billion, accounting for 0.5 per cent of the world total. Viet Nam took the 33rd position in the top 50 environmental goods and services markets in the world.
"Development is not equal to the country's potential, nor local demand," he said, adding that Viet Nam only focused on importing machines and technology from foreign countries.
Imports accounted for over 80 per cent of the market value. Production of goods and services in water and waste-treatment had yet to be developed.
There were only 15 businesses operating in the environmental industry in Viet Nam.
He added that other countries had found it similarly difficult to promote trade liberalisation of environment goods and services as there was no global standard definition of goods and services.
Tran Huy Hoan, a specialist from the European Trade Policy and Investment Support Project (EU-MUTRAP), agreed that Viet Nam would have both opportunities and challenges in obtaining trade liber-alisation in goods and services.
Hoan said that liber-alisation of goods and services could help the country expand its market, promote investment, reduce environmental protection costs, and create more jobs.
Viet Nam, however, did not have a list of environmental goods and services. Big initial investments and high technology requirements would increase competitiveness in the industry and make it difficult for domestic businesses to grow.
Chu Van Giap from the Department of Science and Technology said that the environmental industry in Viet Nam had only taken baby steps, with a modest number of businesses and limited capacity.
The lack of policies and mechanisms for the ind-ustry's development had been one of the biggest barriers, Giap noted.
David Luff, a specialist from EU-MUTRAP, recently established a list of products which Viet Nam could negotiate for reduced taxes or push its comparative advantage in the future. — VNS