Integration poses socio-economic challenges

Tuesday, Sep 24, 2013 07:00

Workers produce planks for export at Hoang Duc Linh Limited Company in central Quang Tri Province. The integration process brought both benefits and challenges to the country's socio-economic development, said deputy minister Nguyen Cam Tu. — VNA/VNS Photo Tran Viet
HA NOI (Biz Hub) — Viet Nam needs further technical support and advice from donors to better integrate regionally and globally.

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Cam Tu told a seminar yesterday, citing recent successes as an indication that this was the way to move forward.

After Viet Nam's accession to the World Trade Organisation in 2007, the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) funded a technical assistance initiative – the Beyond WTO Programme – to help the country manage economic integration and its transition to a market economy.

The four-year programme, which helped implement 48 projects, strengthened the institutions of the market economy, helped address the social and economic consequences of integration for the rural sector, supported capacity for management and co-ordination of integration as well as supporting implementation of Provincial Action Plan activities.

Deputy minister Tu said the integration process had brought both benefits and challenges to the country's socio-economic development.

Central Institute for Economic Management deputy director Vo Tri Thanh said that accession to WTO demonstrated the close ties between internal reform and the international integration process, as only internal reform could offer conditions for the country to seize the opportunities and minimise the risks posed by integration. These include risks to production, consumers and macro economy.

"Now is the time for Viet Nam to push through new reforms as many Doi moi (Renewal) policies launched 27 years ago are "out of control" and failing to adapt to the current situation," he said, adding that the economy faced problems including its structure, its vulnerability to internal and external shocks, caused both by social and environmental factors.

The new push should target three main pillars: economic restructuring, comprehensive integration and closer links between economic reform and political reform, he said.

Vice head of International Relations under the Government Office Nguyen Thanh Hung said to boost international economic integration, the country aimed to strengthen public-private collaboration, manage negotiations and implement co-operation agreements, as well as facilitate international trade.

These required preparation of human, financial and time resources plus greater engagement from businesses and civil society.

"In the very first stage of negotiations for free trade agreements or other tie-ups, the Government needs to help businesses access information so that they can adapt and keep pace with market moves," he said.

Le Thanh Ha from the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry's Legal Affairs Department said poor capacity and the lack of access to international trade policies were the main difficulties for Vietnamese businesses.

Director of Ha Noi National University's Centre for Economics and Policy Research Nguyen Duc Thanh said Viet Nam's WTO accession had not been as successful as expected, partly because reforming activities were not strong enough. Thanh pointed to the slow restructuring of State-owned enterprises and their relatively low investment efficiency.

Australian Ambassador to Viet Nam Hugh Borrowman said challenges ahead for Viet Nam during its integration process included raising income, increasing competitiveness and moving higher up value chains. — VNS

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