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December 21, 2008

Workshop discusses pros and cons of Vietnam’s WTO membership
Vietnam 's market conditions following its two years as a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) was the topic of a seminar in Hanoi on December 19, reported state news agency VNA.

The event served as a forum for policymakers, managers and entrepreneurs to gain an insight into both the opportunities and challenges posed by WTO membership, and to suggest ways to further foster the country's international economic integration.

The Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, Nguyen Cam Tu, told the participants that Vietnam has adhered to its multilateral commitments over the past two years, and opened up its markets for goods and services.

The country has adopted a host of synchronous reform measures to make the most of the chances and overcome the challenges that WTO membership has brought, the deputy minister said.

However, local businesses have been forced to compete fiercely with foreign rivals, particularly as the time for Vietnam to open up its retail market is approaching, he added.

Having acknowledged the need to sharpen the competitive edge of domestic businesses, experts have proposed a wide range of measures to simplify import-export procedures, reduce export costs, and speed up the reform of State-owned commercial banks.

The participants also touched upon solutions to attract more foreign direct investment (FDI) and improve the FDI disbursement rate, assist domestic companies in training, technology and management, and deal with issues related to land use and assets.

The event was co-hosted by the National Committee for International Economic Cooperation, the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Sao Viet Company.

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