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VN needs to improve structural reform, competitiveness to tap CPTPP opportunities

Vietnam should improve structural reforms and businesses’ competitiveness to efficiently implement the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), heard a conference held by the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM) in Hanoi on February 19.

CIEM Director Tran Thi Hong Minh said the CPTPP, which took effect in early 2019, is expected to create new impetus for trade and investment development and boost economic reform in Vietnam.

However, Minh said efficiency in implementing CPTPP and competence in taking advantage of opportunities provided by the trade deal was heavily dependent on institutional capacities, the competitiveness and domestic firms' ability to adapt.

According to Nguyen Anh Dương, head of the CIEM’s General Research Department, it is necessary for Vietnam to handle several institution-related problems to efficiently implement the CPTPP, including fully understanding the trade deal, enhancing coordination among ministries and agencies and timely issuing legal documents.

Duong added that the trade deal provides significant opportunities to businesses but firms must make more preparations to realise the opportunities. Firms are paying more attention to taxes and tariff liberalisation but must also fully understand origin rules, he said.
Duong said opportunities will come first from businesses’ efforts to change their thinking and improve their competitiveness, adding that room for businesses to take advantage of the trade deal remains large.

Vo Tri Thanh, Director of the Institute for Brand and Competitiveness Strategy, said that as the CPTPP will push structural reform, implementing the trade deal must follow the commitments then more importantly, go beyond commitments for efficiency.

Nguyen Thi Thu Trang, Director of WTO and Integration Centre under the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the CPTPP set requirements and created pressure for structural reforms in Vietnam.

Together with the European Union – Vietnam Free Trade Agreement, the country has significant economic opportunities, Trang said, adding that it is critical to speed up institutional reforms.
Tariff incentives provided by the trade deal will provide opportunities to boost the development of the part-supply industry, Trang said.

Trade between Vietnam and CPTPP members reached 77.4 billion USD in 2019, a year-on-year rise of 3.9 percent, statistics of the Ministry of Industry and Trade revealed./