With the signing of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the member states will receive not only the immediate trade benefits from removing tariff barriers and extraneous regulations, but also the motivations brought about by the agreement for the development of each country, in terms of economic, political, and social aspects.
Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh, head of the Vietnamese delegation participating in the CPTPP signing ceremony in Santiago, Chile on the early morning of March 9 (Vietnamese time), made the affirmation in an interview granted to Vietnam’s press agencies on the fringes of the event. According to the minister, all member countries spoke highly of the quality of the new-generation free trade agreement, despite the absence of an economic power such as the United States.
Sharing his view on the significance of participation in the CPTPP to Vietnam, the official said that as an independent and highly sovereign state in its foreign political and economic affairs, Vietnam has taken an important step in materialising its strategy of multilateralisation and diversification of cooperative relations by becoming a signatory to the CPTPP. In fact, considering the current global context of complicated developments, despite the main swing toward trade liberalisation, there are clear signs of growing protectionism and isolationism, which are hindering and adversely affecting the flow of globalisation.
He stated that participation in the CPTPP is a demonstration of Vietnam’s continuous efforts to resolutely and consistently implement the Party’s guidelines and strategies, and the State’s policies in facilitating proactive and extensive integration. It can be said that joining the CPTPP demonstrates a new level for Vietnam in the regional and international integration process. Especially, as a founding nation of the CPTPP, Vietnam has achieved many goals.
Firstly, Vietnam’s foreign politics has confirmed its role in bilateral, multilateral, regional and international political forums, while affirming its position in the common global playing field. Secondly, when integrating into the CPTPP, in terms of institutions, Vietnam will have the conditions to complete a rule-of-law state and an economy with increasing competitiveness, on the basis of transparentisation, publicisation, and continiuous facilitation of trade activities following the principles of a market economy. Moreover, Vietnam’s CPTPP founding membership will allow the country to both protect and continue to maximise its interests during negotiations, when considering the admission of another nation to the agreement. Finally, the economic and trade benefits, closely associated with the long-term strategic benefits, will enable Vietnam to continue to “take off” at a new and higher level in the new markets, as well as in current potential markets. Also, the country’s growth engines over the coming decades will receive continuing care through the reformation of a series of fields, both legally and institutionally.
Discussing the difficulties faced in the CPTPP negotiation process, Minister Tran Tuan Anh revealed that right from the negotiation stages of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the precursor of the CPTPP, it was a very tense, complicated and prolonged process as the participating countries set so many requirements for the high standards of the agreement. When it seemed to reach an endpoint with the signing of the TPP, in early 2017, the US announced its decision to withdraw, throwing everyone into a new challenge. Fortunately, all of the 11 remaining members were determinted to reidentify the targets and the new equilibria points for countries when joining in the CPTPP. And in the short period of time since November 2017, following the conclustion of the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting, and the TPP-11 ministerial meeting in the central coastal Vietnamese city of Da Nang with a declaration of continued determination for the CPTPP, all the 11 member nations have done their utmost in order to achieve the present results.
Regarding Vietnam’s preparations for the implementation of the CPTPP, the official said that the Government will issue an action programme to clearly define the contents and tasks, in which the first and foremost task will be to review laws and adjust the State’s legal frameworks to implement the domestic legalisation of the CPTPP’s integration commitments.
Next, the announcement of the CPTPP signing and the dissemination of the CPTPP-related information will be carried out for all of the subjects of Vietnam’s international integration, with special attention paid to the role and responsibilities of state management agencies in the implmenetation process. The role of the business community in accessing the contents, requirements, opportunities, and challenges posed by the CPTPP, should also be highlighted, so that businesses can materialise them into action programmes for implementing their integration commmitments, while making effective use of opportunities and favourable conditions offered by the CPTPP, and implementing the restructuring needed to respond to and mitigate the adverse impacts of the Agreement.
In addition, the minister stressed the need to form institutional mechanisms to facilitate, monitor and inspect the implementation of the CPTPP. Under the framework of the CPTPP, participating countries have agreed on the common mechanisms for encouraging and monitoring the implementation of the Agreement in each member nation. He also emphasised the importance of proactivity of each state management agency, especially the cabinet agencies, because the contents and tasks related to the implementation of the CPTPP require a deep and extensive engagement of each ministry and sector. Not only state agencies but also organisations in the political system must identify and fully understand the tasks and requirements set forth in organising the implementation of the CPTPP.