Friday, December 6 2019


CPTPP proposal shows Việt Nam’s willingness to change

Update: November, 03/2018 - 07:00
Party General Secretary and President Nguyễn Phú Trọng yesterday presented a proposal to the National Assembly asking for the parliament’s ratification of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).– VNA/VNS Photo Phương Hoa

HÀ NỘI – Party General Secretary and President Nguyễn Phú Trọng yesterday presented a proposal to the National Assembly asking for the parliament’s ratification of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

The President’s proposal stressed that the early ratification of the CPTPP would show Việt Nam’s strong commitments to reform and comprehensive and intensive international integration.

“Việt Nam will also be able to affirm its important role and geographical-political position in Southeast Asia and Asia-Pacific at large, while advancing its position within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), in the region and the international arena,” he said.

The state leader noted that in the context of rapid, complex and unforeseeable changes in the global and regional political and security situation, CPTPP membership would enable Viet Nam to improve its internal strength to cope with new challenges, and consolidate its position to realise its foreign policy of independence, multilateralisation and diversification of relations.

The proposal also pointed out the benefits along with challenges to be brought by the free trade deal to socio-economic development, State budget and the finalisation of legal and institutional frameworks.

It said the opening-up of economic activities, along with regulations in labour, transparency and anti-corruption, would require Việt Nam to take the initiative and make greater efforts to complete legal regulations and establish management mechanisms that both matched international treaties and ensured political-social stability.

The Government proposes ratifying the CPTPP and related documents at the sixth session of the 14th NA without any reservation.  

To ensure the implementation of the agreement, the Government has instructed ministries and agencies to review and complete a list of laws, ordinances and decrees that need amending, supplementing and issuing to suit the commitments made in the CPTPP.

The list names eight laws and four Government decrees that need to be amended and supplemented, and proposes seven new documents (six decrees and one Prime Ministerial decision). The list also recommends participation in three international treaties.

During the enforcement of the CPTPP, the Government will continue to review legal documents to make timely amendments and supplements.

At the working session, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Phạm Bình Minh presented a report explaining in detail the CPTPP and relevant documents.

Minh, who said that the CPTPP would benefit Việt Nam overall, said due to the fact that the trade pact would cover 13.5 per cent of global GDP, Viet Nam’s GDP would grow by 1.32 percent, and its exports 4.04 percent by 2035.

In addition, free trade agreements with the CPTPP countries would help to restructure the country’s import-export market in a more balanced way, thereby enhancing the autonomy of the economy. Việt Nam also would also have the opportunity to participate in the supply chain established after the CPTPP is in effect, an important condition for improving the level of economic development.

Commitments in the CPTPP would improve the country’s business environment and attract more foreign direct investment (FDI), the deputy PM said.

The number of jobs would increase by 20,000-26,000 a year along with the trade pact, while the poverty rate would fall, the report said.

However, joining the CPTPP with the wider market would also present many challenges.

Domestic products such as pork and chicken might face strong competition from imports, Minh said.

Other products that could have trouble competing would include paper, steel and cars, he added.

The reduction of import tariffs might reduce budget revenues, but there won’t be “sudden” impacts as seven out of 10 other CPTPP countries currently had free trade agreements with Viet Nam, Minh said.

Assessment report

Legislators also heard an assessment report on the CPTPP ratification proposal delivered by head of the NA’s Committee for External Relations Nguyễn Văn Giàu

Giàu said that most of the participants in the assessment working group endorsed the need to ratify the CPTPP and considered it a new, high quality, comprehensive free trade agreement.

However, there were concerns about differences in the level of economic development in Việt Nam with the member countries of the agreement.

Some members suggested the Government closely control these risks and challenges, while taking the initiative to minimise negative impacts during the implementation process.

Minister of Industry and Trade Trần Tuấn Anh said the CPTPP was a quite comprehensive agreement as it covered principles not only in trade and investment but also in intellectual property. 

It required Việt Nam to reform its investment and business environment, as well as institutions, he said. 

The minister added the agreement would put competitive pressure on enterprises and the economy, helping Việt Nam grow more sustainably. 

Deputies’ voices

Deputy Vũ Tiến Lộc from Thái Bình said the CPTPP’s impact on the economy and Vietnamese enterprises would be an expanded market with preferential tariff policies.

“Việt Nam will have many advantages in exporting to CPTPP member countries, especially in garments and textiles, shoes and leather, agricultural and fishery products,” Lộc said.

Trần Hoàng Ngân, a deputy from Hồ Chí Minh City, said that the first thing Việt Nam should seize from the CPTPP was international integration, as well as completing its market mechanism in a stronger and more advanced manner. 

Việt Nam should create high-quality products with competitive prices to serve the demands of CPTPP member states who have high income per capita and huge demand in consumer markets, Ngân added.

Sharing the same viewpoint, Phạm Khánh Phong Lan from HCM City believed that Vietnamese exports, particularly fruit, vegetables and seafood, would enjoy preferential tax rates, thus gaining a competitive edge. 

She said that local enterprises should make rational investments to prevent heavy losses.

However, some deputies feared that the CPTPP would challenge Vietnamese trade, investment, service, agriculture, budget collection, intellectual property, labour and information safety. They said that economic development disparity would be one of the major effects.

Regarding some key labour and employment issues upon joining the CPTPP, Ngô Duy Hiểu from Hà Nội said that the Government should work to complete mechanisms related to labour and trade unions. Completing the amendments for the Labour Code was an important requirement, he said.

In the afternoon, deputies talked about laws relating to planning.

Deputy Đỗ Ngọc Thịnh from Khánh Hoà Province was most concerned about the regulation on the publication of planning information.

Thịnh cited the Law on Planning, which says that within 15 days of planning approval, details must be made public, except for those relating to state secrets.

He said the law needed to have more detailed regulations regarding this matter.

“It should have clear guidance on cases that can’t be made public. This would avoid situations where investors use the state secret factor as an excuse to refuse to disclose their plans,” Thịnh said.

Deputies also discussed whether provincial planning should be made independently or combined into the country’s socio-economic development planning.

Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyễn Chí Dũng said due to diversified opinions, the ministry would need more time to study the matter.--VNS




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