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Vietnam’s economic changes after accession to WTO

Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnamese economic experts joined their foreign colleagues to discuss the impact of Vietnam ’s accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on its economy and society at a workshop in Ha Noi on April 2.

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Thanh Bien told the workshop that Vietnam ’s economy recorded a growth rate of 8.5 percent in the first year the country joined the WTO.

Dang Duc Anh, an economic expert of the Vietnamese Ministry of Planning and Investment, said the high growth rate, a record for the past decade, is due to domestic investment and consumption.

Business and production in major economic sectors have also showed positive signs.

Last year, Vietnam attracted more than 20 billion USD in foreign direct investment (FDI), equal to the total capital attracted in the previous five years. The nation’s export revenues also reached 48.4 billion USD, a year-on-year rise of more than 20 percent.

The securities market also developed with its capital accounting for more than 40 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Deputy Minister Bien said that apart from such advantages, Vietnam has faced many difficulties and challenges such as high consumer price index and import surplus.

Experts said the volume of consumer goods imported from other Southeast Asian nations and China into Vietnam has increased. Additionally, Vietnam ’s accession to the world’s biggest trade body has impacted on the nation’s inflation and its monetary and exchange rate policy.

However, they said the prices of Vietnamese goods remains competitive due to the depreciation of the greenback against currencies of Vietnam ’s major trade partners.

If the inflation rate is still high, Vietnam will lose its price competitiveness compared to regional major rivals, especially when the US dollar regains its value, experts warned.

To maintain a high economic growth rate, the experts suggested Vietnam speed up its reform and improve the growth quality and competitiveness of all sectors, businesses and the entire economy.

They said Vietnam needed to maintain its competitive advantage in major staples like footwear, textiles and apparels and farm produce.

Experts also warned Vietnamese businesses to explore the WTO’s regulations to devise more effective and suitable business strategies.

The workshop was jointly held by the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the European Commission Multilateral Trade Assistance Project Vietnam (phase II).

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