The 18th round of negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership
Agreement (TPP) is taking place in Malaysia from July 15–25 with high
hopes that the agreement could be signed in June next year.
TPP countries, whose total combined
population is about 1 billion, will soon make up around 40 percent of
the world’s total gross domestic product ( GDP ), or 29 trillion USD.
Their agricultural exports and imports will account for 30 percent and
20 percent of the global figures, respectively.
Almost all TPP members, including Japan – the latest nation pledging
to join, are wealthy countries. Peru and Vietnam are the two
poorest nations in the bloc. So far, questions have been raised about
what Vietnam is set to gain and lose when the agreement is signed.
Participants attending a seminar on the subject in
Ho Chi Minh City on July 10 said that Vietnam will benefit from
its position as a TPP member. They argued that the country’s main export
staples – garment and textiles, footwear and agricultural products,
will enjoy zero percent tariff when the TPP is in place, instead of the
current level of 17-30 percent. They added that the flow of FDI to
Vietnam will be more plentiful and the country will develop more
advanced technologies, helping businesses become more competitive.
Quoting research conducted by Professor Peter Petri from Brandeis
University in the US , Herb Cochran from the American Chamber of
Commerce (AmCham) in Vietnam said that the country’s export turnover
will reach around 307 billion USD by 2025 if the country is a TPP
member. He said that in contrast the figure will be just 239 billion USD
if it does not join – a reduction of 68 billion USD. He said that
garment and textiles and footwear exports would see the highest growth
of around 45.9 percent. Seafood products will also become much more
competitive in the US market thanks to a zero percent tax (compared
with the current 28 percent tariff).
participants expressed their worries that Vietnamese businesses may not
make full use of the TPP as they cannot meet some criteria related to
behaviour between nations and the origin of goods. In order to overcome
the challenge, they said businesses must carefully study and understand