On 29/02/2112, in Hanoi, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Vietnam (VCCI) held a seminar on “Five years as a WTO member - To what extent of global trade integration Vietnam was and is to be?”. This activity is under the program “Enterprises and International Trade Policies” of VCCI, in the frame work of EU – Vietnam MUTRAP III (the Multilateral Trade Assistance Project, Phase III), sponsored by the European Union.
In the opening speech, Ms. Nguyen Thi Hoang Thuy, Project Director, EU - Vietnam MUTRAP III said that reviewing 5 years of Vietnam as a WTO member is a good chance for negotiators, State agencies and Vietnam enterprises to draw valuable lessons especially when Vietnam is now facing with more complex and difficult market opening negotiations.
As a person in the frontline of “WTO battle” that days, Mr. Truong Dinh Tuyen - Former Trade Minister, Former Head of Vietnam Trade Negotiation Delegation recounted negotiation days which are full of tension and fierce with "sacrifice” lessons on negotiation strategies, negotiation partner selection and negotiation time... His most favorite in the negotiation is that basically Vietnam has achieved planed objectives. However, the result would be better if we were better prepared and more active in the negotiations.
According to Mr Luong Van Tu - Former Vice Minister of Trade, Former Head of Vietnam Trade Negotiation Delegation, there are three lessons learnt from WTO negotiations. First, if Vietnam wants to success in global trade integration it needs to change from inside, rather than waiting for outside impacts. Second, to win on the negotiating table, it is necessary to delve partners to know what they need, what they want, this is the principle of "Understanding yourself, understanding partners, hundred battles hundred wins" Third, we have to understand the WTO which is not "equal" as bilateral negotiations, so no right to "bargain” but lobbying groups with same interest is acceptable
From the "back support" Ms. Pham Chi Lan - Senior Expert, Former VCCI Vice President said that thedomestic support for the WTO negotiations that day was not as good as desired. First, directions and policies to develop market economy in Vietnam were unclear, and still mixed with old thinking, while the Vietnam's economy has not been located in the regional and global one. Second, Vietnam was still week in competitive capacity and competitive platform, especially institutional platform, infrastructure and human resources. Third, negotiation strategies did not fully determine the role of enterprises and the society; those classes still stood outside the negotiating table, not be consulted or even not be informed to prepare for themselves in the integration.
Five years as a WTO member – five years of archived successes and missed expectations. Vietnam’s economy has actually achieved some notable successes: High annual GDP average growth of over 7% for 5 years, imports and exports are rising strongly, FDI attraction is unprecedented high (especially in the early years of WTO membership), domestic business environment is significantly improved and, international trade relation is widely open… However, five years of Vietnam as a WTO member – three years Vietnam has been faced with the world’s financial crisis and severe recessions. We have not well-taken advantages of the international economic integration in general and the WTO in particular. Exports rise but not in high added-value products while major imports are medium technology products which will not improve the domestic competitiveness, the quality of FDI projects is not high, many businesses facing with fierce foreign competition have to close production…
Closing the seminar, Mr. Tran Huu Huynh- President of the International Trade Policy Committee of VCCI said that reviewing the pass is also to send a message to the future - integration is an inevitable process, Vietnam needs to be more active to overcome weaknesses and promote existing strengths to implement integration steps more effectively in the future.
The Materials can be downloaded here
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- Conference: "Opportunities and challenges for Vietnam’s agriculture sector when participating in FTAs"
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