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'FTAs to boost Vietnam's competitiveness'
Feb '16
Ahead of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) coming into force, Vietnamese trade body bosses and economic experts have said that free trade pacts will boost competitiveness but cautioned that the country's corporate sector will need to pull up its socks.

At a seminar in Hanoi on corporate knowledge about the TPP, Nguyen Quynh Nga, a Vietnamese negotiator at the trade bloc's deal, said active integration will boost the country's corporate competitiveness, a leading Vietnamese newspaper has reported.

According to her, initial difficulties are inevitable and so, enterprises ought to design their integration moves carefully.

The TPP and a range of new-generation free trade agreements (FTAs) will have a significant impact on the Vietnamese economy as a whole, stressed Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) Chairman Vu Tien Loc.

He said domestic enterprises have capitalised on only a fragment of the benefits brought about by FTAs, while the foreign-invested sector, especially manufacturing for export, hahve maximized advantages.

Economic expert Pham Chi Lan agreed with Loc, saying said that Vietnamese firms took advantage of only 30 per cent of benefits from the FTAs.

"More importantly, those who benefit most from FTAs are foreign direct investment (FDI) enterprises specialising in exports, while Vietnamese firms haven't enjoyed many benefits from FTAs," she said.

Nguyen Thi Thu Trang, Director of the World Trade Organisation and Integration Centre under the VCCI, noted that updating information on when these pacts take effect and their road maps was key to whether a company succeeds or fails to integrate.

"Businessmen need to ready themselves for relevant trade defence measures as well as quality and copyright regulations," Trang said.

Dang Phuong Dung, Vice Chairwoman of the Vietnam Textile and Garment Association, said firms in her sector will face obstacles in terms of materials and capital sources once the TPP agreement officially starts.

Central Institute for Economic Management expert Vo Tri Thanh took note of the confidence of domestic companies in their comparative advantages, which will help them overcome difficulties and gain footholds internationally. He also said that transparent policies and strict implementation of the commitments are needed.

The TPP deal will be formally signed in New Zealand on February 4. (SH)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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