|Franz Jessen, ambassador and head of the EU delegation, said Viet Nam had faced a number of important challenges on its ways to become a fully industrialised and modern economy.— File Photo
HA NOI (VNS) — Viet Nam did not consider its accession to the World Trade Organisation as a final destination, but simply a step in the whole process of economic reform towards facilitating trade and investment.
Tran Quoc Khanh, deputy minister of Industry and Trade, made the statement at a workshop to discuss the WTO's first trade policy review of Viet Nam held in Ha Noi yesterday.
"Viet Nam has never got back to protectionism and always been determined to pursue trade liberalism and facilitation which has been shown by the initiatives it has taken and active participation in negotiations for free trade agreements (FTA), even at a time of economic difficulty," Khanh said.
He said the country had been implementing related commitments to an open market and transparency, and improved its legal framework while creating a fair and favourable business environment which facilitated local and foreign investment.
However, he said that during the six years Viet Nam had been a member of the WTO, a number of shortcomings had been registered, particularly poor reporting, burdensome administrative procedures, low transparency and a lack of consistent policy making and application.
Viet Nam had straightforwardly admitted these weaknesses and committed to address them in the future, he added.
Sharing the ideas, Franz Jessen, ambassador and head of the EU delegation, said as a result of its trade liberalisation, Viet Nam had become an important economic and political player in ASEAN and Asia, and was also becoming an increasingly important partner for the EU.
Viet Nam's efforts to implement its WTO accession package had also led to extensive tariff reductions, comprehensive services' reform as well as improved transparency of Viet Nam's trade regime and enhanced protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights, he said.
The ambassador said Viet Nam had faced a number of important challenges on its ways to become a fully industrialised and modern economy.
Appropriate trade policies and structural reforms to further improve the country's overall efficiency, productivity and competitiveness were needed.
Such reforms would also be crucial in ensuring that Viet Nam remained an attractive destination for foreign investment, he added.
Reviewing Viet Nam's economy after its WTO accession, Vo Tri Thanh, deputy head of the Central Institute for Economic Management, said the country's competitive capacity had not improved that much, and even decreased in 2010.
However, its attraction of foreign direct investment was still relatively high, Thanh said.
He said the WTO accession had made people more aware of integration, and several provinces had been improving their business and investment environment.
However, he said that one of the shortcomings was the participation of the business community.
He suggested the country ensure effective distribution of resources while reducing risks to the marco-economy, society and the environment.
Nguyen Thi Thu Trang, director of the WTO Centre, said the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry had not used the tools provided by the WTO. For example, subsidy solutions had been ineffective.
Trang said Vietnamese businesses lacked the know-how and support to protect themselves from anti-dumping lawsuits.
She said that Viet Nam had not made management activities more transparent or improved business competition since its accession to the WTO.
The country should push transparency and develop market principles, she added. — VNS