Deputy PM urges policy proposals for integration issues
Tuesday, 2017-02-28 05:51:49
NDO—Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue has urged for further strengthening research, forecasts and policy proposals for the nation’s international economic integration in general and FTAs in particular.
The government official, who is also the head of the Inter-Agency Steering Committee on International Economic Integration, made the above call while chairing the first meeting of the committee in 2017 on February 28, aimed at assessing its operations in 2016 and deployment its tasks for 2017.
Reports at the meeting affirmed that last year Vietnam was positively and proactively implementing the international integration policy of the Party and State and transitioned to a comprehensive integration stage where economic integration is its focus in the context of the country’s participation in a range of next-generation free trade agreements (FTAs).
According to the representative from the Multilateral Trade Policy Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT), in the process of its economic integration, Vietnam has made thorough preparations for the selection of partners for negotiation and cooperation, leading to enjoying more benefits from FTAs. This interest has been expressed by the increasing percentage of domestic companies using incentives in the FTAs between Vietnam and the Republic of Korea (at over 80%) and between Vietnam and Chile (over 60%).
Regarding the fact that Vietnam has integrated deeply and broadly with ASEAN but has not made good use of its advantage in exports, the MOIT said that the reason for that is that there is a general trend in ASEAN countries to increase overall production capacity and attract external investment to export to other markets. MOIT documented that the intra-bloc trading ratio was 25% in the past but has halved recently.
In addition, Vietnam’s economic and export structure is relatively similar to the other ASEAN countries, the ministry said, adding that domestic enterprises’ capacity to take advantage of opportunities is still low, reflected by the fact that the index of those taking advantage of such opportunities is only 30% (although this is up from 10% previously). The reason for that is that domestic enterprises usually target the domestic market or other markets, not wanting to penetrate into the ASEAN.
The Multilateral Trade Policy Department also said that in addition to this trend, the ASEAN countries have erected trade barriers, and that this trend would increase in the near future, requiring the government and relevant ministries and agencies to support enterprises to overcome these barriers.
Deputy PM Vuong Dinh Hue has urged for further strengthening research, forecasts and policy proposals for the nation’s international economic integration. (Credit: VGP)
Praising the efforts of the Steering Committee in coordinating with relevant authorities in implementing important activities on international economic integration, Deputy PM Hue affirmed that such activities have contributed to the improvement of institutions and national, business and product competitiveness development, helping protect the interests of companies in the process of commitment implementation.
Vietnam has actively integrated with the world, in which economic integration is the focus. Last year, Vietnam made great strides in mobilising countries like Canada to recognise its market economy status, said Deputy PM Hue.
However, he also said that the deployment of international economic integration still had limitations, with the existence of more than 70 specialised management and examination procedures on import-export goods still making it difficult for import and export activities to carry on.
He urged the committee to efficiently use mechanisms on Technical Support Groups and Groups of Advisers to further strengthen research and forecasts on issues of international economic integration and FTA negotiations, thereby proposing integration policies for now and the next ten years.
The focus should be the impact of protectionism in the Asia-Pacific, the US’s withdrawal from the TPP and policy recommendations for Vietnam, the impact of new problems and the focus under the ASEAN Economic Community roadmap from now to 2025, non-tariff barriers and trade facilitation in promoting intra-ASEAN trade, and promoting trade with the Middle East and African markets that are still open to Vietnam.
In 2017, the deputy PM suggested concerned ministries and sectors to coordinate and organise APEC Year Vietnam 2017 well to enhance the role of Vietnam in APEC, while further attracting foreign investment and expanding the search for foreign partners for domestic enterprises.