TPP - What is coming ahead?

The participants at the seminar
It was the seminar held by VNU University of Economics and Business, International Trading, Investment and Technology Development JSC (IDT) and Apexcorp on 25 February 2014.

Attending to the seminar were UEB Rector Assoc.Prof.Dr. Nguyen Hong Son, UEB Vice Rector Dr Nguyen Truc Le, IDT General Director Mr. Pham Thanh Hai APEX Director Mr. Nguyen Phong Phu and economic experts, scientists, leaders of companies.
Addressing to open the seminar, UEB Rector Assoc.Prof.Dr. Nguyen Hong Son has said the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) was a free trade agreement with a largest scope and deepest level of commitment that Vietnam ever participated. TPP would create a playground, contributing over 40% to GDP and about 30% of global trade. After formal and informal sessions, the TPP negotiation  is entering the final stages. Recognized as 3rd generation agreement, the contents of the TPP negotiations are expected to include the contents of trade liberalization, as well as other socio-economic issues.

UEB Rector Asso.Prof.Dr Nguyen Hong Son speaks to open the seminar

TPP is considered as a great opportunity to develop economy and trade for all member countries in general and Vietnam in particular. However, besides these opportunities, TPP also brings to Vietnam many challenges. The seminar held to create a forum for experts, scientists and entrepreneurs to discuss, exchange and share viewpoints about the agreement.
The seminar consisted of two sessions, which were about “TPP - Opportunities and challenges for enterprises in Vietnam” chaired by Assoc.Prof.Dr Ha Van Hoi, Deputy Director of the Center for Institute for Economic Management Dr. Vo Tri Thanh, Dr. Trinh Minh Anh - Deputy Director of the Administration Department of National Committee for International Economic Cooperation, Dr. Can Van Luc - Senior Advisor to the Chairman of the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam.
At the first session, the experts agreed that TPP was a multipartite free trade agreement, signed with the aim of establishing a common free-trade premises for countries in Asia-Pacific to promote trade, attract investment and accelerate institutional reform.

At the first session of the seminar, from the right: Dr. Trinh Minh Anh, Dr. Vo Tri Thanh, Dr. Ha Van Hoi , Dr. Luc Van Doi

TPP agreement is considered as a model agreement for the twenty-first century, because of not only its large scale but also the impact of the agreement. Some outstanding and sensitivity articles of joining TPP are: trade, investment matters, intellectual property, government procurement, state-owned enterprises, labor, labor unions, technical barriers (Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade - TBT Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures - SPS), anti-corruption, environmental protection and other issues.
At the second session - TPP and intellectual property rights with the participation of Dr. Do Khac Chien - Intellectual Property expert, Mr. Pham Thanh Long - lawyer cum director of Gia Pham Law Firm, Dr.. Nam Pham - Economics professor at the University of Washington DC.
Protection of intellectual property rights remains an important and argumentative sector of negotiations. The stricter requirements of applying protection measures regarding TRIPS Agreement brings Vietnam an anxiety of ensuring multilateral interests.

At the second session, from the right: Dr. Nam Pham, Dr. Do Khac Chien, Mr. Pham Thanh Long, Assoc.Prof.Dr Ha Van Hoi

After three hours with many positive feedbacks and questions, the seminar "TPP - What is coming ahead" successfully concluded. Summing up the seminar, Prof. Ha Van Hoi emphasized: TPP can be seen as the agreement of the 21st century with the comprehensive commitment and trade liberalization, in the tariff reduction in goods trading, together with the tight conditions of origin of goods. In addition, the agreement brings competitive opportunities to investors and governments of the TPP member countries. This also opens up great opportunities for developing countries, including Vietnam:
Regarding to opportunities, firstly when joining the TPP, the most noticeable advantage for us is that we are facilitated to access to markets, attract investment among the member countries in the agreement. Most members are developed countries with high per capita income, the TPP participation would be favorable to increase exporting in which Vietnam has strength in textiles, footwear, clothing or electrical equipment…
Secondly, when Vietnam became a member of the TPP, this would affect the bilateral commercial viability between Vietnam and other partners, which would increase the inflow of foreign investment into Vietnam. Besides, Vietnam will have many opportunities to participate in the global value chain as well as has the ability to modernize and improve the service sector.
Thirdly, the participation of Vietnam in TPP brings the country conditions to deeper penetrate into the market of the US, Japan which are world leading economies.
Fourthly, as Vietnam is completing the mechanism of an economic market, the participation in the TPP will be an important boost to Vietnam to reform institution to improve business environment.

The seminar receives many feedbacks from the audiences

However, apart from new opportunities, Vietnam is facing many challenges. Firstly, joining TPP means member countries have to cut or reduce tax, most items are spared with from tax rate, thus the domestic enterprises are encountering with increasingly fierce competition with foreign enterprises.
Second, the application of new standards in the TPP will create technical barriers (including labor and environment, the interests of investors) which are challenging to overcome.
Third, the Intellectual Property Rights in TPP refers to all contents such as brands, geographical indications, copyright, patent, business secret, the enforcement of intellectual property rights, genetic resources and traditional knowledge. Obviously, the TPP has stricter provisions and harsher penalties for IPR compared to the previous agreement, creating more challenges for Vietnam’s enterprises.

To grasp and take advantage of opportunities, overcome challenges, according to the experts, Vietnam’s enterprises should: (1) develop plans, actively explore the market, particularly the United States, the most important partner for Vietnam in the TPP, which is expected to take advantage of TPP (2) build capacity, because in TPP would create a supply chain products within the global supply chain, (3) actively provide information, coordinate with negotiation delegation to increase the efficiency.

Representatives of the Organizing Committee and the speakers at the seminar

In his closing speech, IDT CEO Mr. Pham Thanh Hai said that was the first seminar in a series of events that the IDT and the UEB are jointly organizing relating to TPP issues.
The UEB and IDT are expected to jointly organize a seminar on “Impact of TPP to some major sectors”.

IDT International operates in the following areas: financial investment, training, development and deployment of internet-based projects. On 12 October 2013, the VNU-UEB and IDT has signed a strategic. The seminar on TPP is one of the first activities in the strategic cooperation framework between the two units.

Do Chiem - Bao Anh

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