Viet Nam May Join WTO before APEC Summit in Nov.

Viet Nam will probably join the World Trade Organization before the APEC Summit, scheduled for this November in Ha Noi, due to the achievements the country made at the 12th session of the Working Group on Viet Nam’s accession to WTO.

The outlook was shared by the Working Group’s chairman and Viet Nam’s partners to the session, who also highlighted the necessity for Viet Nam and other members of the group to coordinate closely to resolve existing problems.

The 12th session took place in Geneva, Switzerland, on July 19. The parties focused on explaining their viewpoints on existing issues such as: the rights to exportation and importation, investment regulations, export tariffs, special sale tax on alcohols, and intellectual property rights.

The parties also filed bilateral agreements on opening up the goods and service markets to help the WTO Secretariat soon put these documents into circulation.

The Working Group’s chairman and members, and the WTO Secretariat made positive evaluations on the results of the 12th working session.

Though shortcomings still remain the concerned parties agreed that gaps were already narrowed and that the bilateral negotiations could be completed during the next session of the working group, set for the second half of September.

Vietnamese Trade Minister Truong Dinh Tuyen reiterated that Viet Nam is determined to join WTO, saying that Viet Nam has reformed its legal system and economic mechanisms.

He said in preparation for the 12th session, Ha Noi had submitted many important documents such as a program to update legal documents and 15 decrees serving as guidelines for laws and bills. During the past 12 sessions, Viet Nam has made every effort to meet its partners’ requirements.

In his speech at the 12th session, Mr. Tuyen urged WTO members to give more flexibility to Viet Nam, which is developing at a low level and is in a transitional process, but many of the commitments made by the country are higher than those by other WTO members with the same development level.

An example given by the Vietnamese minister was that the WTO ministerial meeting in Hong Kong in late 2005 set 2013 as the year for WTO members to stop subsidies for exported farm produce, but Viet Nam pledged to stop right after it joins the world’s biggest trade body.

Viet Nam also asked WTO members not to set requirements higher than WTO rules and the country’s economic development level.

The Vietnamese minister stressed that the 12th session would create a landmark for Viet Nam to be able to join WTO this October.

Reported by Viet Lan – Translated by Tuong Thuy

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