WEF ASEAN 2018: Vietnam treasures benefits of free trade

Vietnam has long treasured the substantial benefits of free trade, particularly amidst the formidable challenges posed by global trade protectionism which is currently threatening bilateral and multilateral trade deals, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has said.

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Attending the Vietnam Business Summit 2018 themed “Vietnam, Trusted Business Partner: Connection and Creativity” in Hanoi on September 13 in the framework of the World Economic Forum on ASEAN (WEF ASEAN) 2018, PM Phuc said that Vietnam’s reform achievements over the last 30 years of its open-door and integration policies have been made alongside the trend of global trade liberalisation.

Despite considerable difficulties, open-door policies really are virtues to the Vietnamese economy, he stressed.

However, he said that the economy still falls short by its expectations, with Vietnamese firms still not deeply footed in global value chains.

Although 51% of Vietnamese small- and medium-sized enterprises enter global value chain (higher than average 41% recorded in the ASEAN), their proportion in the chain is a far cry from their potential and set targets, he said, adding that international research has shown that many companies are now in their initial phase and still unstainable.

Thus, Vietnam should better its position in the global value chain by enhancing connections with foreign direct investment firms, he said, asking Vietnamese enterprises to improve their capacity.

Vietnam has been presented as an important gateway in the ASEAN bloc and signed a line-up of free trade deals – like the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) – which will brings various opportunities to gain a foothold in new markets, he underlined.

On Vietnam’s economic achievements, WEF President Borge Brender said that in eight years since the last WEF held in Vietnam in 2010, the local economy has witnessed fantastic growth, with gross domestic product (GDP) doubling and export revenue tripling.

Vietnam is on track to achieve an economic growth of nearly 7% this year, while also experiencing a rapid development of foreign investment. The poverty rate declined significantly to 3% from 50% in 1990s, he said.

Dramatic improvements have been seen in Government debt, the banking sector, trade, and business environment, he stated, pointing his finger at the economy’s weaker point which need to be addressed, such as education quality and labour efficiency. 

Mobilising all economic resources to get involved in the Fourth Industrial Revolution is also a challenge, he added.


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