Vietnam Can Join WTO Next December, Says WTO Official
Vietnam is likely
to gain admission to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in December next year,
said Mr. Seung Ho, Chairman of the Working Group for the country's accession
to the global trade body.
The official made
the forecast after Vietnam completed the ninth round of the WTO membership
negotiations at the organization's headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland on
To this end,
Vietnam needs to conduct four other rounds of talks, he said. The 10th round
of multilateral negotiations is scheduled to take place next March 31, and the
country must organize the three other rounds of talks before the end of autumn
next year to allow the Working Group enough time to prepare for the country's
official entry in December.
negotiation round, which started on December 9, focused on the Working Party's
first draft report on Vietnam's WTO membership commitments, said negotiators.
During the talks,
Vietnam presented its fresh progress in policy reforms and said it will speed
up the issue of legal documents related to WTO within 2005. The country
pledged an average tax rate on imports at about 18.5% with the tax levels on
imported industrial and farm produce a bit higher, and committed to cut
government subsidies on agro-products right after it becomes a WTO member.
Vietnam agreed to
follow the WTO Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) and its Customs
Valuation Agreement (CVA) right after becoming a member, with some technical
assistance. It also asked for certain privileges and a transitional phase in
Most of the Working
Group's member countries, however, demanded Vietnam carry out its WTO
membership commitments and agreements immediately after joining the global
trade rights, one member of the Working Group said discrimination between
domestic companies and foreign-invested firms in Vietnam still existed, urging
that the country must fulfill its commitment to abolish this.
The Working Group
also wanted Vietnam to provide more information about its state-owned
enterprises (SOEs), including figures about its operations, products and roles
in international trade.
Since the eighth
negotiation round held in Geneva on June 9-18, Vietnam has reportedly carried
out strong shake-ups in a series of its SOEs.
At the ninth round,
the Vietnamese delegation had bilateral talks with 10 partners, namely
Colombia, the US, New Zealand, Iceland, Switzerland, Canada, South Korea,
Australia, Norway, and Paraguay.
multilateral talks and bilateral negotiations, the Vietnamese delegation held
working sessions and met with the WTO Deputy General Director, Chairman of the
Working Group Ho Seung, the Norwegian Ambassador and the head delegates of the
US and China to the negotiations.
Luong Van Tu,
Deputy Trade Minister and Secretary General of the National Committee for
International Economic Cooperation led the Vietnamese delegation, which
included 33 representatives from all ministries and branches.
To date, Vietnam
has completed bilateral negotiations with six WTO members, namely, Cuba,
Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Singapore and the EU, one of four major partners in
the negotiation process to the world trade body.
The country needs
to finish similar talks next year with the remainder three major partners of
the US, Canada and Japan and other nations including China, Colombia, New
Zealand, Iceland, Switzerland, South Korea and Australia. (Young People Dec 21
p3, Labor Dec 21 p3, Laborer Dec 20 p2, VNA Dec 18)
Vietnam Advised to Boost Direct Exports to US: Seminar
exporters should directly export their products to the US and should find a
representative in the market, advised experts who participated in a seminar on
boosting exports to the US market held in Ho Chi Minh City on December 20.
The event was
jointly organized by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce & Industry (VCCI) and the
EEF Enterprise Co.
According to EEF,
the appointment of representatives in the US is very necessary as they will
help Vietnamese firms to update the latest market information.
firms can provide after-sale service along with exporting their products, it
will not difficult to gain a firm foothold in the US market," said EEF
chairman Eddie Fordham, adding that local exporters should also keep punctual
Vietnam-US trade is
soaring rapidly, reaching $5.08 billion in 2003 from $2.88 billion in 2002 and
$1.05 billion in 2001, thanks to the BTA.
In the first nine
months of this year, Vietnam earned $3.68 billion from exporting to the US, up
18.2% against the year-earlier period.
The US is now the
largest export market for Vietnam and contributes around 19% to the country's
total export revenues each year. (Vietnam Economic Times Dec 21 p4)
ADB Provides $96.4Mln Loans for Finance, Education & Poverty Projects
Development Bank (ADB) and the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) on December 20
signed three loans totaling $96.4 million for the projects of education and
financial sector reforms as well as poverty reduction in Vietnam.
The first loan
worth $55 million for the 'junior secondary education development project' is
expected to help the country achieve universal quality secondary education by
project will help the Ministry of Education and Training complete the
introduction of the new curriculum and textbooks, as well as related
in-service teacher's training, the bank's statement says.
The project will
directly benefit about 366,000 students, of whom 266,000 are disadvantaged and
100,000 are school dropouts who return to class, as well as about 72,500
teachers and education administrators. It will also build junior secondary
schools in 28 provinces in northern mountainous, central coastal, central
highlands and southern regions.
The second loan of
$35 million aims to support the Government's efforts to develop alternative
channels of financial intermediation such as money and capital markets,
insurance, and leasing.
The last of ADB
loans costing $6.4 million will assist the policy framework of the Poverty
Reduction Support Credit program which will strengthen Vietnam's reform
program of shifting to a market economy, financial and banking reform and
developing the private sector.
Since it resumed
operations with Vietnam in 1993 to June 2004, ADB provided 44 loans to the
Southeast Asian country amounting to $2.6 billion and 148 technical assistance
grants totaling $101.2 million. (The People Dec 21 p2, Labor Dec 21 p3, Youth
Dec 21 p16, Vietnam Economic Times Dec 21 p1, News Dec 20 p8)
Saigon Port Handles over 11Mln Tons of Cargo
Saigon Port, the
largest port in Vietnam, handled over 11 million tons of cargo as of December
20, representing an on-year decrease of 0.9% and fulfilling 94% of the target
set for the whole year.
Imports via the
southern port stood at over 4.44 million tons in the period, down 9.1% on
year, exports at nearly 2.26 million tons, up 4%, and domestic goods at nearly
4.44 million tons, up 6.2% year on year.
The port, located
in Ho Chi Minh City, has so far this year serviced 2,322 ships, of which 1,293
carried imported goods and 1,029 carried exports.
Stevedoring Enterprise handled over nearly 4.64 million tons of the total, Tan
Thuan Enterprise over 2.96 million tons, Nha Rong Enterprise over 1.5 million
tons, Can Tho Enterprise 1.04 million tons, and Tan Thuan 2 Enterprise 884,192
tons. (Econet Dec 21 p16)
Fatherland Front Offers Early Christmas Salutations
President of the
Vietnam Fatherland Front's (VFF) Central Committee, Pham The Duyet, sent a
letter of greeting to Vietnamese Christians world-wide last Friday in
celebration of the upcoming Christmas holiday.
In his letter, Mr
Duyet said he was delighted to see how Christians in Vietnam had always
conserved and developed the tradition of patriotism and responded to patriotic
emulation movements, and how they have undertaken difficult but important
tasks for both their religion and the nation.
This year, he said,
Christians as well as other religious adherents have made great contributions
to the success of the VFF's sixth Congress by "promoting the strength of the
nation, enhancing the role of the Front, increasing the pace of
industrialization and modernization to create a nation of wealthy citizens, a
prosperous nation, and a fair, democratic and civilized society."
He also called on
the Vietnamese Christian population to unite in the great national unity and
act in accordance with the Ordinance on Beliefs and Religions in order to make
both religious and secular life better and further contribute to national
statistics count some 6.5 million Christians in Vietnam, accounting for 8% of
the country's population. The figure includes six million Catholics and
500,000 Protestants. (VNS Dec 20 p3, Vietnam Panorama)