Saturday, 24 Aug 2019

CPTPP gives Vietnam upper hand in negotiating trade deal: Economist

Updated at Monday, 28 Jan 2019, 14:21
The Hanoitimes - Being the deal’s co-founder, Vietnam has the rights to accept or refuse a third country joining the CPTPP, while future participants could not propose too many new clauses to the deal as they must accept existing conditions.
The Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) would give Vietnam an upper hand in negotiating trade deal with future partners, according to economist Pham Chi Lan. 
Illustrative photo.
Illustrative photo.
Specifically, Vietnam has the rights to accept or refuse a third country joining the CPTPP, while future participants could not propose too many new clauses to the deal as they must accept existing conditions, Lan said in an interview with the governmental portal. 

Moreover, the CPTPP would offer Vietnam advantages in negotiating the free trade agreement with the European Union (EU), Lan added. 

Vietnam is the second country in Southeast Asia approached by EU for an EU – Vietnam FTA (EVFTA) negotiation, following the latter’s wrapping up similar deal with Singapore. Lan said one of the reason behind EU’s decision was Vietnam’s participation in CPTPP. 

According to Lan, both the CPTPP and EVFTA present Vietnam an opportunity to fulfil its long-term strategy towards sustainable development based on innovation, high technologies, greater productivity and national competitiveness of the economy. 

However, these two deals require high level of commitments in terms of economic reform, which are both motivation and pressure for Vietnam to reform. Lan said these commitments are way ahead of what Vietnam has in hands, but is compatible with the country’s vision of institutional reform, which is also Vietnam’s priorities for economic breakthrough. 

With the high level of standards set by the CPTPP and EVFTA, Lan expected Vietnam’s legal environment would be finely-tuned in the next 5 – 10 years, capable of reaching the target for sustainable and inclusive growth. 

Vietnam was the seventh member country to enforce the CPTPP on January 14, 2019. 

Before Vietnam, the CPTPP had been ratified and come into force for other six countries, including Mexico, Japan, Singapore, New Zealand, Canada and Australia. 

The National Center for Socio-Economic Information and Forecast (NCIF) under Vietnam's Ministry of Planning and Investment expected the CPTPP would boost Vietnam’s GDP by US$1.7 billion and over US$4billion in exports, equivalent to additional growth of 1.32% and 4.04% till 2035, respectively. 

The 11-nation deal covers economies representing around 13% of global economic output, including third largest economy Japan, and 500 million people. It includes cuts to tariff and non-tariff barriers among its members and is designed around high standards on human rights, labor practices, and environmental standards.

In addition to Vietnam, country members of the CPTPP include Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore, New Zealand and Peru. 

Private sector as growth engine

To fully grasp the opportunities brought in by the CPTPP, the government has been addressing shortcomings of the economy, including the acceleration of state-owned enterprises’ privatization and state-run companies divesting fund in non-core businesses, Lan continued. 

The establishment of the Commission for the Management of State Capital (CMSC), dubbed as “super committee”, aiming to take over the role of state capital representative at 19 leading state-run groups and corporations, showed a better understanding of the government in handling state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in a socialist-oriented market economy. 

Moreover, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc also stressed that the government would not be involved in businesses activities where the private sector is capable of doing well, so that SOEs would focus on its core activities. 

In 2018, most ministries have completed removing and simplifying 50% of business conditions under their respective administrations through the issuance of 25 decrees and revision of other 80. 

The move was in response to the government's request of removing 50% of total business conditions at all ministries and ministry-level agencies before October 31, indicating a strong effort of the government to support the business community, Lan added. 

Moreover, it reaffirmed the vital role of the private sector as growth engine for the economy, she stressed. 
Nguyen Tung
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