Apr 07, 2021 / 10:11

Ambassador: CPTPP is a game changer to Vietnam and Canada

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership is believed to accelerate the bilateral economic relations between Vietnam and Canada to a new height. Hanoitimes reporter Tu Anh talks with Canadian ambassador to Vietnam Deborah Paul about potentials in the future.

 Canadian ambassador to Vietnam Deborah Paul

How do you assess the trade relation between Vietnam and Canada after the entry into force of the CPTPP?

I can say the trade relation between Canada and Vietnam continues to grow. Vietnam has been Canada’s largest trading partner in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) since 2015.

In early 2019, the CPTPP took effect and since then we have seen much further growth. In fact, by 2020, we saw largest trade volume ever with 8,9 billion CAD. It really benefits in both sides and I valuate the CPTPP very positively.

How do you see the opportunities for both sides and which industries can take the best advantages from the CPTPP?

With the CPTPP, obviously there are tariff preferences for key products from both countries. The deal also improves the ability of business people to access each other countries on a temporary basis and establish business in each other country. I think Canadian and Vietnamese trade is very complimentary. For example, in the case of Vietnam, there are a lot of opportunities to export electronic machinery, footwear, seafood and agricultural food product and in the case of Canada, we have many opportunities to export fish, seafood, other kind of agrifood, wood and finished wood product.

How do you see both markets’ cooperation potential in the future under the CPTPP?

CPTPP is really significant because prior to it, Vietnam and Canada did not have a free trade agreement. Even without FTA, our trade relation still grows. Vietnam has been Canada’s largest trade partner in ASEAN since 2015. But with CPTPP, we now have preference to access each other countries.

So it really a game changer to Vietnam and Canada!

What initiative has Canada provided to help Vietnam improve the trade environment in the time ahead?

In line with Vietnam’s development and based on the comprehensive partnership framework between our two countries as well as the CPTPP, Canada continues to provide development assistance to Vietnam. We see connection between development and trade so we really try to leverage our development programs to increase Vietnam’s ability to trade internationally and integrate with world economies.

We have several programs in this area. One that I’d like to mention is the Expert Deployments Mechanism (EDM), which provides Canadian technical assistance. Another one is the Canadian Trade and Investment Facility for Development (CTIP), that helps to improve the policy and regulatory environment for trade and investment. The third one, in terms of food safety, we have the Safe Growth which is helping to improve competitiveness and ensure that Vietnamese agrifoods meet international standards.

Can you share more information about these programs?

For example, under the EDM, Canada has responded to 13 requests from Vietnam for technical assistance in the area of trade policy capacity building. We’ re helping Vietnam to build its capacity in term of trade remedies, origin and economic modeling, etc.

In terms of the CTIP, we are looking at the policy and regulatory environment, so that the program helps to enhance the government efficiency as well as help Vietnamese private sector to better understand the CPTPP and how to access Canadian market.

The Safe Growth, as I mentioned, benefits Vietnam not only in international but also domestic market.

How can Vietnam and Canada overcome the current challenges to make the most of CPTPP?

I would like to mention the huge increase in agriculture trade between our two countries. The Canadian agrifood export to Vietnam has increased quite significantly to CAD$370 ml in 2020. On Vietnam side, the figure has increased to CAD$616 million. So I think that is a really significant success.

In terms of challenges, I think we’re all facing the Covid-19, which has impacted trade globally.  One such impact is that our business people are not able to go back and forth. Another challenge is the slow movement of goods.

However, I would say that both countries’ government and industry have adapted to this new normal via virtual trade machine, webinars and make effort to connect each other.

With CPTPP, we both have successes and challenges but I think we’re overcoming the challenges.

Thank you so much!