Expert: Be ready for TPP

Hoang Phi

Local enterprises have gained experiences after Vietnam had signed bilateral trade agreement with the U.S. and taken part in the World Trade Organization (WTO). However, preparations for integration on the part of enterprises remain weak, Thanh said.

For TPP, enterprises need to prepare a lot of things such as knowledge about policies, laws and commitments so as they can cope with lawsuits and disputes when the agreement is signed, he added.

There have been 19 TPP negotiation rounds with 12 member countries trying to settle disagreements to sign the agreement in 2014.

Unlike WTO, under which Vietnam just lowered tariffs at a certain level, TPP member countries will pledge to remove 100% of tariffs, of which 90% must be lifted right after the agreement takes effect, according to Tran Quoc Khanh, head of Vietnam’s TPP negotiation delegation.

After TPP signing, both sides will have from 10 to 12 months to adjust policies to suit TPP regulations, Khanh said at a TPP conference in HCMC recently.

At present, many issues such as export taxes, used goods import taxes and TPP enterprises’ lawsuit rights are still under discussion.

TPP includes not only international issues but also internal reforms and policy improvements of the Government. Therefore, enterprises must be knowledgeable of commitments and policy adjustments of the Government to deal with possible problems, Thanh said.

According to export and import data, up to 60-70% of Vietnamese goods is exported to East Asian nations. Joining the TPP and free trade agreements with the European Union (UN) and the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia is a way for Vietnam to balance export markets and minimize risks during periods of crisis, Thanh said.

In addition, Khanh said that TPP will bring about opportunities for Vietnamese firms to join regional and international production chains, facilitating Vietnam’s economic restructuring and mechanism reform processes