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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs   9 September 2013  
Vietnam firms eye speedy US free trade deal

Vietnam has the chance to reach a free trade agreement with the US before other countries involved in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) due to its competitiveness, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT).

In the short and medium terms, Vietnam has advantages over other partnership countries, such as China, Indonesia and Thailand, in approaching the US market, said deputy head of MoIT's Multilateral Trade Nguyen Thi Hoang Thuy.

Viet Nam would join the TPP free-trade negotiations with an export tax rate of 10 per cent for its export products to the US, which will last for 10 years, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

The impacts of the negotiations on local business and enterprises are far reaching as it exposes them to the world economy and they will gain competitive edge needed to compete on the world economic stage, Thuy said.

She added that TPP has already stimulated overseas investment into Vietnam with some US investors already placing their bets on the economy before TPP has been finalised.

However, Thuy said, joining TPP would also create pressures to further open the market and increase competitiveness for local enterprises which need to react to the new trade initiative.

Meanwhile, she said local firms still have limitations with production, so TPP may bring disadvantages for them if they do not reform production methods and business models.

Thuy recommended businesses speed up their restructuring process to improve quality and value of goods and services and to raise efficiency for their own economic growth.

Vietnam must continue reforming administrative procedures, opening the local market, promoting integration into international economy, improving investment and business environment and ensuring that the legal system and government policies are attracting foreign investment, Thuy said.

Negotiators from 12 member countries of the Trans-Pacific Partnership gathered in Brunei for the 19th round of TPP negotiations on August 22, with Japan participating as the newest member of the regional trade group since joining only one month earlier.

The nine-day round of talks focused on 10 issues, including intellectual property rights, state-owned business and tariffs with the goal that all TPP members try to complete the talks so that an agreement can be reached this year.

Besides the official meetings, ministers and ministerial-level officials also held bilateral sessions with partner countries to present their requests and offers related to trade tariffs.

The TPP member countries together create a market of 790 million people and account for about one-third of the global trade.

The member states currently include Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Viet Nam.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More






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