US senator optimistic abou TPP progress

10:36 | 22/08/2014 Cooperation

(VEN) - At a meeting with the media during his recent visit to Vietnam, Senator Bob Corker, a ranking member of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, showed his optimism about the progress of negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement.

US Senator Bob Corker

He said, “The TPP will benefit the economies of both Vietnam and the US and is also of strategic importance to other countries. Therefore, it is necessary to balance the interests between all negotiating countries as well as between the two countries.” The US, Vietnam and others countries all want to achieve economic growth, prosperity and higher living standards, and the TPP will help them achieve these things. In the negotiation process, Vietnam put emphasis on the necessity of ensuring balanced interests and flexibility. Meanwhile, the US side pays greater attention to intellectual property and market access rights.

At his meetings with Vietnamese leaders, Senator Bob Corker expressed his support for promoting the comprehensive cooperation between the US and Vietnam. He hoped Vietnam, the US and other countries would finish TPP negotiations as soon as possible because this agreement would bring opportunities for its member countries to open their markets and change their economic development models.

Senator Bob Corker personally expected that the agreement would be finalized within the next 12-18 months. “There will be an election in the US this coming November. So I think the US will focus attention on completing TPP negotiations and dealing with other difficult issues after the election,” he said.

Currently, the US is Vietnam’s second largest trading partner. Statistics from the General Department of Vietnam Customs show that in the first six months of 2014, the US continued to be a major export market for Vietnam, with Vietnamese exports to the US reaching US$13.3 billion, a rise of 22.17 compared with the same period last year.

Regarding investment, according to data from the Foreign Investment Agency under the Vietnamese Ministry of Planning and Investment, by May 20, 2014, the US ranked seventh among 101 countries and territories directly investing in Vietnam. Currently, 691 US investment projects are ongoing in Vietnam with total registered capital of over US$10.6 billion.

In the opinion of experts, the TPP will bring great opportunities for Vietnam and the US to boost economic cooperation as well as trade and investment exchanges, especially Vietnamese exports to the US. Currently, key Vietnamese exports to the US are subject to rather high import tax rates, 4.5-14 percent for textiles and garments, and 10.4 percent for footwear. When the TPP takes effect, the US import tax rates imposed on Vietnamese products will decrease, creating favorable conditions for Vietnam to increase exports to the US./.

US Senator Bob Corker: “Vietnam is the first destination in my visit to Asia. After Vietnam, I will visit Malaysia and the Philippines. My trip to Vietnam this time has been a success, contributing to boosting the cooperation between Vietnam and the US. Next year, the two countries will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the normalization of bilateral relations. Many issues remain unresolved but the two sides will deal with them in a constructive manner.”                      

By Nguyen Huong