Vietnam involved in 16 FTAs

Vietnam has signed and will sign 16 free trade agreements (FTA), the Government said in a report sent to the National Assembly Standing Committee this week.

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The Government report on acceleration of international economic integration signed by Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh indicates that Vietnam has inked 10 FTAs, concluded negotiations over two FTAs, and is in talks over four FTAs.

In particular, the nation has joined six regional FTAs as an ASEAN member, including the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) and the five FTAs between ASEAN and China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand, as well as four bilateral FTAs with Chile, Japan, South Korea and the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU).

The nation has concluded negotiations over an FTA with the European Union (EU) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact.

The remaining FTAs that are being negotiated include the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the Hong Kong-ASEAN FTA, the FTA with Israel, and the FTA with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).

The report has revealed five major shortcomings in Vietnam’s international economic integration.

First, the global economic integration has exposed the underlying weaknesses of the economy. The current economic structure and growth quality have not improved much. Growth over the past time has mainly relied on factors such as credit and cheap labor, without the significant contribution of labor productivity, knowledge or technology.

Second, investment efficiency is not as high as desired. Foreign direct investment (FDI) attraction policies are still not desirable. The number of FDI projects has increased, but their quality is not assured as their technology is mostly outdated.

Third, the competitiveness of Vietnam’s economy, firms and products is still weak, compared to other countries. Spearhead economic sectors and enterprises having the potential to compete in regional and international markets are still limited.

Fourth, the development of the market economy has brought about positive changes, but has also revealed many setbacks. The markets for real estate, finance, labor, and science-technology have developed, but much improvement is still needed.

Finally, there have existed bottlenecks relating to institutions, infrastructure, and human resources hindering the development of the economy.

SGT

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