Vietnam National Assembly Ratifies Country’s WTO Membership

043.jpgThe Vietnamese legislature ratified Tuesday the country's accession protocol to the World Trade Organization by a massive vote, clearing the way for it to become the global trade body’s 150th member.
Vietnam's membership will take effect 30 days after the ratification – on December 28, that is – opening up foreign investment and trade in the region’s fastest-growing economy.

Two legislators abstained as the ayes had it 444-3 for a resolution to ratify the protocol.

The government and the National Assembly will now have to review the country’s legal framework to make necessary amendments and issue new laws to comply with WTO commitments.

The chairman of the house’s Committee for Foreign Affairs, Vu Mao, said Vietnam’s commitments were “in line with the renovation (doi moi) process, and the [Communist] Party’s and state’s policy of global integration”.

The house told the government to draw up a roadmap for removing subsidies on non-agricultural products.


Legislator Vu Tien Loc, also president of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told the house: "Along with [WTO] opportunities, the economy’s weaknesses will also be exposed."

The government must speed up efforts to cut red tape and improve infrastructure so that the country's businesses could compete once an influx of foreign competition started, he said.

Nguyen Ngoc Tran from An Giang province warned that the gap between the rich and poor could widen as a result of becoming a WTO member.

President Nguyen Minh Triet told the legislature before the vote that the membership "marks an important milestone in our international economic integration and international recognition of the success of Vietnam's economic reforms".

Minister of Trade Truong Dinh Tuyen said: "Some people and businesses will face difficulties… [and there is] the risk of complicated social problems arising.”

In the last two decades, Vietnam has gradually implemented free-market reforms, winning praise from foreign investors whose interest in the country has been growing. Foreign investment has surged by nearly 50 this year to more than US$8 billion.

At the negotiations for membership, Vietnam agreed to lower many tariffs and open previously protected economic sectors to foreign investment, like banking, financial services, and telecom.

Its economy grew by an average of more than 7 percent a year for the last decade, one of the fastest rates in the world.

Source: Thanh Nien News