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Progress in Vietnam’s talks for entry in WTO

Progress in Vietnam’s talks for entry in WTO

   The World Trade Organization reported that its members have praised Vietnam’s revised offers concerning its future membership of the Geneva-based trade body, but sought “improvements and more clarification.”

   The 63 WTO members negotiating a membership package with Vietnam said they were much closer to agreement with the Southeast Asian country than at a previous meeting last December, and that they supported the Vietnamese objective of joining the WTO “as soon as possible.” However, the WTO ruled out the possibility that Vietnam would join its organization by Jan. 1.

   Vietnam’s latest offers, circulated in April, include commitments to cut tariffs to an average of about 18 percent — a 4-percentage point improvement over the previous offer.

   Yet, WTO working party members also said a lot of work still remains in continuing to negotiate market access and other terms of Vietnam’s membership, in obtaining further clarification of Vietnam’s regulations and policies, and in putting into place the necessary laws and regulations.

   In addition to seeking further improvements in the market access offers, WTO members also raised concerns about Vietnam’s use of specific import duties, such as fixed amounts per ton instead of percentages of the value or “ad valorem,” the country’s use of tariff quotas on agricultural products, and other aspects.

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