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Positive outcome of WTO membership doubtful

19
Mar '07
Vietnam became 150th member of WTO in January 2007 amid much excitement, but whether membership will bring fruitful results is still under question.

Import tariffs on consumer goods witnessed 1.812 fall between 30 and 40 percent, but whether retail prices will go down or not is yet to be seen.

To gain access to markets of other WTO member nations, Vietnam had consented to reduce import duties considerably on many products.

During January and February 2007, exports surged 23.5 percent from 2006 to US $6.76 billion, while imports stood at $7.83 billion. Hence trade deficit reached $1.1 billion, compared to a surplus of $100 million last year.

High trade deficit has resulted from local enterprises renewing technology, buying new equipment and raising production capacity to cope with lower import prices.

On the other hand, WTO membership has proved beneficial for apparel sector. Abolishment of garment quotas led to exports upturn 28 percent to over $1 billion. Consequently local producers gained further access to WTO member country markets.


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