Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang
Vietnam needs proper measures to turn opportunities created by the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement into reality and cope with any difficulties, an official has said.
Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang, who is scheduled to join the TPP signing ceremony in New Zealand on February 4, granted an insightful interview to Vietnam News Agency’s correspondents in Sydney. The minister is leading a Vietnamese delegation to Australia and New Zealand from January 31 to February 5.
He said that at a meeting in Atlanta, the US, on October 5, 2015 the involved parties to the TPP agreed to review the working agenda within 90 days for the formal signing of the agreement.
The 12 members are aware of the significance of signing the deal on schedule, he added.
In theory, Vietnam is expected to gain the most benefits from the pact, especially in trade of goods, investment, and services. However, in fact, this depends on how the Southeast Asian country works to take advantage of the TPP and deal with any possible challenges, he added.
Over the past three months, Vietnam has sealed more bilateral agreements with some TPP member nations such as the US and Australia, he said.
He noted that Vietnam reached a bilateral agreement with the US in the field of garments and textiles, while getting commitments from several countries to recognise its market economy status.
The agreement between Vietnam and Australia will enable Vietnamese employees to work in Australia in the long run, he said.
The TPP is a high quality new-generation agreement which aims to balance benefits between the signatories. It also takes into account the development gaps between countries, he noted.
Hoang said Vietnam’s key export products such as garment-textile, footwear, farm produce and seafood are hoped to grow sharply thanks to the country’s increasing market share with major importers like the US, Canada and Japan, and the zero-percent tariff policy, as committed under the TPP.
It is estimated that exports of garment-textile and footwear could increase by at least 20 percent.
Seafood businesses should pay attention to the expansion of breeding areas, quality of product, regulations on food safety and hygiene, and quarantine to boost export growth, he noted.
Within the TPP framework, Australia has pledged to apply zero percent tariffs for 94 percent of Vietnamese products, while the rate committed by New Zealand for Vietnam is 93 percent, Hoang said.
Once the TPP is signed and comes into effect, commitments by Australia and New Zealand to open their markets for Vietnamese goods and services are higher than those of the ASEAN-Australia – New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA), he stressed.
Replying to what measures can be made to effectively support domestic businesses and what they should do to take full advantage of the TPP, Hoang said Vietnamese enterprises have made careful preparations and sought solutions to cope with challenges arising from the deal.
Vietnam’s breeding sector will meet difficulties when the deal takes effect because of low productivity, small-scale production, high expenses, and limited capacity to join global production and supply chains.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade, relevant ministries and sectors has negotiated with other TPP members a suitable roadmap which aims to delay the full implementation of Vietnam’s commitments, giving it extra time to make adjustments.
Vietnamese enterprises, especially those operating in the agricultural field, need to outline suitable measures and plans, focusing on their strongest products, Hoang noted.
The Government, State management agencies, and relevant ministries and sectors should pay attention to building standards that ensure the quality of products sold in Vietnam and prevent substandard goods from entering into the country, thus facilitating domestic firms’ development.
He added that it is necessary to promote communication work to raise enterprises’ awareness of the TPP contents, helping them identify advantages as well as challenges, in order to take responsive measures and get the best out of opportunities arising from the deal.