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Vietnam Today

Vietnam International Economic Integration Forum 2018 held in Hanoi

Released at: 16:56, 04/12/2018

Vietnam International Economic Integration Forum 2018 held in Hanoi

Photo: Ngoc Lan

Forum held in context of Vietnam preparing for implementation of new generation FTAs.

by Ngoc Lan

The Vietnam International Economic Integration Forum 2018, with the theme “Vietnam’s International Economic Integration in the New Global Context: Proactive - Pragmatic and Political Approach”, was held by the Intersectoral Steering Committee for International Economic Integration at the World Bank in Vietnam and the Australian Embassy in Vietnam on December 4 in Hanoi, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue.

The forum was held in the context of Vietnam preparing for the implementation of new generation FTAs, of which the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) was signed in March, approved by the National Assembly on November 12, and officially entering into force on January 14.

The forum focused on three main matters. The first is Vietnam, in the face of new trends in international trade and economics, proposing appropriate policy perspectives to respond to new developments in global and regional integration.

The second is the implementation of Vietnam’s new generation FTAs, opportunities and challenges for businesses, and issues for institutional reform and market access.

The third is to promote more effective international economic integration.

On global trade, Dr. Deepak Mishra, Director of Macroeconomic, Trade and Investment at the World Bank, said that international economic integration in recent decades has had a positive impact on economic growth and poverty reduction. “However, the results of trade integration may not have been shared equally across the globe, and some of the costs of reallocating resources to trade integration leading to unemployment and increasing income inequality in adjusted sectors may not have been adequately addressed in some countries,” he added. “This is a contributing factor to the formation of negative opinions on trade interests, the rise of protectionism, and the resulting instability of policy. In that situation, Vietnam should consistently integrate into the global trading system.”

Agreeing with the idea of a return to protectionism stemming from the lack of fairness in sharing the benefits of globalization between countries and within countries, Dr. Vu Minh Khuong from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore and Member of the Economic Advisory Board of the Prime Minister noted that the return of protectionism is also due to global trade governance institutions set up after the Second World War no longer meeting the reality of globalization and being in need of adjustment.

Commenting on the impact on Vietnam of trade tensions between China and the US, Dr. Sudhir Shetty, Chief Economist for the East Asia and Pacific Region at the World Bank, said that trade tensions may provide an opportunity to shift trade for some of Vietnam's export commodities to the China and US markets. “However, Vietnam may be negatively impacted when trade and global growth slows, and increasing uncertainty is a major impact instead,” he added.

He also spoke of a number of options recommended by the World Bank. First, Vietnam should strengthen its macroeconomic response capacity to fluctuations in international finance and trade. Secondly, it is important to strengthen national competitiveness with trade facilitation policies, improve the business environment, and strengthen the link between foreign investment and domestic suppliers. In addition, Vietnam needs extensive trade and investment reforms, including the simplification of non-tariff measures, promoting trade in services, strengthening regional integration, and strengthening the commitment to support the reform of the global trading system.

Deputy Prime Minister Hue said that although there are a number of factors currently affecting multilateral and regional integration, the government maintains a comprehensive integration policy with a focus on international economic integration. “When integrating deeply into the global economy, Vietnam will have to face impacts from world and regional economic trends and developments,” he said.

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