Trade Minister Talks WTO Membership

Trade Minister Truong Dinh Tuyen

Trade Minister Truong Dinh Tuyen and the other Vietnamese negotiators returned to Ha Noi yesterday after the final round of talks on Viet Nam’s joining the World Trade Organization in Geneva. Mr. Tuyen told a press conference that the negotiations had concluded and that “there is already a script for Viet Nam’s WTO accession on November 7”.

What is the script of the WTO accession ceremony?

First, I want to affirm that the negotiations on the country’s entry into the WTO were concluded, all the relevant documentation was approved by the Working Party on Viet Nam’s admission to the WTO, and the party was dissolved because basically it had completed its duties.
 
Regarding the script for the country’s WTO accession ceremony in Geneva next month, the proceedings will start with a summary of Viet Nam’s negotiation process presented to the WTO General Council.
 
If there is no objection from the council, a vote on Viet Nam’s application for WTO membership will be taken.

In theory, if another WTO member votes against it, the WTO commitments between Viet Nam and that country won’t apply. However, this has never happened.

After that, the WTO general director and the head of the Vietnamese government team will attend the signing ceremony and give press conferences.

What else must Viet Nam do?
 
The Government is making a report to submit to the Vietnamese President, who will then bring it before the National Assembly.
 
Also, the Government will present its report at the Central Party Conference for discussion to formulate some major policies, aiming to create an impetus for rapid and sustainable development after Viet Nam becomes a WTO member.
 
Other work that we must urgently complete by November is to translate all the relevant WTO documents into Vietnamese, including the Working Party’s reports and the commitments on goods and services. They will be publicized widely.
 
What challenges will Viet Nam’s economy face after the country joins the WTO?
 
WTO accession is very complicated because it affects all socioeconomic fields. The challenges are numerous but the opportunities are tremendous. Therefore, Viet Nam has to prepare well to adapt to the new situation.
 
For instance, we often refer to competition among products and enterprises, but that’s not all; there is also competition among states.
 
What matters is whether the state creates a good business environment for enterprises, economic sectors and foreign investors; because if the state doesn’t operate well, it will be difficult for enterprises to compete internationally.
 
Through negotiations, how did WTO members recognize Viet Nam’s reform efforts of the past few years?
 
Our attempts could be seen not only at the negotiation table but also in the process of reforming and renewing the country’s economic institutions.
 
In more concrete terms, the National Assembly took prompt action and adjusted many laws, ensuring the country’s economy could operate according to the market mechanism. And our ministries and sectors have brought out new regulations that comply with the policy.
 
Through the talks, the WTO members saw that Viet Nam was carrying out reform to integrate with the outside world instead of using external integration to boost interior reform.
 
We are implementing reforms with initiative. 
 
What is the most exciting aspect to you?
 
I am excited because Viet Nam is becoming a WTO member, but most importantly the country’s renewal process has been recognized by the world.
 
Who will head the Vietnamese delegation at the signing ceremony?
 
Maybe the Prime Minister will fly to Geneva.

By Quang Tuan – Translated by Yen Chuong

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