11:03 | 26/08/2015 Society
(VEN) - The Hanoi Promotion Center on Trade, Investment and Tourism organized a workshop on new-generation free trade agreements (FTAs) in order to help local businesses identify potential and strategic markets to expand trade and production activities.
Vietnam has participated in negotiation rounds of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement and the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) since November 2010 and October 2012, respectively. The TPP Agreement and the EVFTA are new-generation FTAs featuring trade liberalization and the removal of almost all tariff lines. These new-generation agreements include commitments in numerous fields such as trade in goods and services, intellectual property, state-owned enterprises and public procurement and non-trade issues like labor rights, trade unions and the environment.
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According to Hanoi Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Association Deputy Chairman cum Secretary General Mac Quoc Anh, around 80 percent of 170,000 local businesses are aware of the FTAs.
Hanoi businesses have expanded operations and opened more representative offices in the last three years ago and promoted exports to the EU, the US, Japan and the Republic of Korea. In particular, small and medium-sized businesses are opening branches and transaction offices as well as sending staff abroad to gain experience.
According to the Hanoi Department of Planning and Investment, the city has focused on implementing main measures in recent years to improve the business and investment environment, enhance the provincial competitiveness index (PCI), overcome difficulties for businesses and promote trade and production activities. Thanks to the efforts, these indexes have been significantly improved, with the PCI leaping 18 ranks; the provincial-level public administration reform index increasing by two ranks; ranking second in terms of information technology application index and third in terms of the Networked Readiness Index among the 63 cities and provinces.
In addition to challenges and difficulties, FTAs are seen as an opportunity for Vietnamese businesses to improve competitiveness, upgrade their technology and enhance management skills. In particular, state management agencies need to promote administrative and legal reforms in order to attract more investment into Hanoi.
Phung Thi Lan Phuong from the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Legal Department recommended that businesses actively learn about the FTAs that Vietnam has signed, conduct market research, promote links and improve competitiveness.
The Hanoi Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Association will work with the city people’s committee, local departments and agencies to overcome difficulties in administrative procedures, and look at tax reductions and exemptions for businesses.