This view was shared at a seminar entitled “Five Years as a WTO Member-To what extent of global trade integration Vietnam was and is to be”, held by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) in Hanoi on February 29, in the framework of the “Enterprises and International Trade Policies” programme supported by EU-Vietnam MUTRAP III.
At the seminar, which attracted hundreds of businesses, associations and domestic and foreign experts, many agreed that Vietnam had made great strides in economic development over the past five years since it first became a WTO member.
The country has established a market economy, focused on domestic and international trade, to keep the export sector growing at an average rate of 17 percent per year and lure more foreign direct investment (FDI), Senior Economist Pham Chi Lan said.
In particular, she said, the competitiveness of many Vietnamese products has improved significantly with about eight commodities earning over US$3 billion per year in revenue.
However, she noted, the biggest challenges to the country’s deeper integration into the global economy include the global financial crisis and the fluctuation in world energy and food prices. Affected by both the global crisis and existing weaknesses in the domestic economy, gross domestic product (GDP) growth has declined in the past few years.
However, Lan said, Vietnam’s economy will grow stable in the near future, with increasing benefits from its WTO commitments and efforts to carry out Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations and other Free Trade agreements.
Vietnam is forecast to achieve higher levels of economic standards in accordance with its WTO commitments, a foreign expert said.
Over the next few years, participants agreed that Vietnamese businesses must improve their competitive edge.
At the meeting, Vo Tri Thanh, from the Central Institute for Economic Management, said that the combination of integration commitments to promote the establishment and refinement of the market economy status is an important element in creating trust and development potential. Vietnam’s economic reform contributes to enhancing internal strength and investment, especially foreign direct investment (FDI), promoting business operations, expand foreign markets and better explore the domestic market.
He suggested that while utilizing comparative advantages, it is essential for Vietnamese businesses to move up along the value chain by diversifying or differentiating export products and strengthening non-price competitiveness, attracting efficient FDI or strategic partners and improving labour and management skills.
In addition, Tran Huu Huynh, president of the WTO Centre under the VCCI, said that the Government has issued an instruction requiring the WTO negotiation team to consult businesses and associations before negotiations.