Minister of Industry and Trade: CPTPP’s promises and perils

08:27 | 08/04/2018 Cooperation

(VEN) - On March 9, 11 Asia-Pacific nations including Vietnam signed a landmark trade agreement in Chile.  Vietnam Economic News’ Thu Hang & Nhat Quang interviewed Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh about the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). 

minister of industry and trade tran tuan anh cptpps promises and perils

Could you indicate the CPTPP’s expected benefits for the Vietnamese economy? Which sectors will benefit most from the trade deal?

The CPTPP will have positive impacts on a relatively comprehensive range of fields. However, like any integration frameworks, it will have both positive and adverse impacts.

The extent of the CPTPP benefit for the Vietnamese economy depends on actual conditions and how Vietnam implements its integration and reform commitments to achieve sustainable growth and added value for the economy. Like other CPTPP member countries, Vietnam is committed not only to opening its domestic market, removing tariff barriers and further facilitating trade, but also to ensuring the transparency of state management of market development.

Vietnam’s commitments cover a number of fields, such as intellectual property protection and public purchases, working conditions, worker environment and trade union rights. The implementation of these commitments will help enhance the competitiveness of the Vietnamese economy.

Institutional reforms and the improvement of state management in each field, especially the improvement of the business and investment environment, will enable Vietnam to attract more investment and external resources.

Sectors and fields expected to benefit the most from the trade deal include textiles and garments, leather and footwear, food processing, beverages, confectionery, tobacco, wine and beer. The benefits for other sectors depend heavily on their preparations.

I want to emphasize that businesses should take the initiative in seeking access to foreign markets. Initiative and the range of knowledge will be the key to successful integration.

What difficulties and challenges will face the Vietnamese economy and domestic businesses in implementing the trade deal?

Challenges, difficulties and even risks will face not only businesses but also people.

The experiences of previous years, when Vietnam joined the World Trade Organization (WTO), or when the US-Vietnam Bilateral Trade Agreement (BTA) was signed, show that if domestic businesses take the initiative in seeking market access opportunities and implementing integration commitments, adverse impacts are restricted. However, if they do not pay attention to implementing integration commitments, they pay a heavy price.

For example, sectors, such as services, telecommunications, posts, e-commerce, textiles and garments, leather and footwear, have grown rapidly, while agricultural fields, such as sugarcane cultivation and sugar production, have shown stagnancy in innovation and restructuring, leading to low efficiency and competitiveness.

Obviously, integration can have adverse impacts and even create risks for some economic sectors, as well as farmers, consumers and those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged in society.

minister of industry and trade tran tuan anh cptpps promises and perils
The CPTPP will create greater opportunities for the food processing industry

Could you share the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s plan to spread public information about the CPTPP among businesses and people?

Under the guidance of the government, the Ministry of Industry and Trade has outlined specific plans to implement Vietnam’s integration commitments. The ministry created these plans in consultation with relevant state authorities, the business community, sociopolitical organizations and the public to ensure their conformity with Vietnam’s sustainable development strategy.

To prepare for the implementation of Vietnam’s integration commitments in the CPTPP, the Ministry of Industry and Trade will build an overall action plan and submit it to the government as soon as the agreement takes effect. This action plan will be made in consultation with the government, the business community, localities, associations and people.

An important task that awaits us after the trade deal takes effect is checking the legal framework and institutionalizing integration commitments into Vietnamese laws.

Another task is spreading public information about the agreement, as well as the action plan to implement it, and identifying clear responsibilities of each division participating in the implementation process. Initiative will be the key to success of the business community and the entire economy.

The CPTPP is expected to take effect in mid or late 2018, creating a motive force for Vietnam to promote sustainable growth and achieve important goals of its economic development strategy for the 2016-2021 period.

Joint efforts by the government, ministries and sectors, including the Ministry of Industry and Trade, will surely help Vietnamese people and businesses benefit from the agreement and minimize its adverse impacts.

Thu Hang & Nhat Quang