Mr. Vu Tien Loc (Photo: Viet Tuan)
VCCI Chairman tells conference the TPP will live on in some shape or form.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will certainly continue in some shape or form, either multilateral or bilateral, Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) Mr. Vu Tien Loc told a conference launching the EuroCham Whitebook 2017 and the outlook for the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) on March 2.
The future of the TPP is facing an uncertain future since US President Donald Trump withdrew from the ambitious 12-nation pact brokered by his predecessor, Barack Obama, and declared an end on January 23 to the era of multinational trade agreements that defined global economics for decades.
“Still, all the TPP countries, even the US, do not want to waste the efforts spent during the six years of negotiating, and especially not waste the opportunities the TPP could bring to all parties,” Mr. Loc said. “The implementation period for the TPP commitment will have to be pushed back to later than the expected 2018.”
Vietnam had a lot of expectations over the TPP and the EVFTA, not only because of the large market size of the partners and the potential for trade growth but also because of the opportunity to adopt global economic standards.
The EVFTA is greatly anticipated. Not only will it open the door for Vietnamese exports to the 28 member countries of the EU, it will also drive institutional reform in Vietnam, Mr. Loc said.
As the future of the TPP is now uncertain, the EVFTA is drawing more attention than ever. However, Mr. Loc noted that the implementation of the EVFTA is running late. Its signing was pushed back from 2016 to 2017, delaying the day of effect.
According to analysts, the future of the TPP lies in renegotiation, but any renegotiation during the Trump presidency will most likely not include the US. The remaining eleven members need only change one clause to give the TPP a new lease of life, amending the enactment rules so that US participation is no longer required for implementation.
For Vietnam’s part, even without US involvement, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has said that Vietnam will work with other members to identify a solution that benefits everyone, while also seeking free trade deals elsewhere, such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which is being pushed by China.
Senior officials from Vietnam and 15 other Asia-Pacific countries reportedly met in Kobe, Japan, on February 27 for the next round of negotiations over the RCEP, the first since the US departure from the TPP.
“Vietnam will continue to move forward because we have 12 other FTAs in place and three that are currently under negotiation, including the RCEP,” PM Phuc said. “These will help our economy continue to move forward.”