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Saturday, January 23, 2021

Communication over free trade agreements inefficient

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HCMC – At a seminar in HCMC on July 1, Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh stressed that inadequate communication over free trade agreements (FTAs) from ministries and government departments was leading to a lack of information and misunderstandings among enterprises.

Pointing out that some government officials themselves have not fully grasped the contents of the FTAs, the minister noted that many businesses seem indifferent over the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

The Ministry of Industry and Trade recently opened a portal to address questions from enterprises over the EVFTA. Although the agreement is set to take effect soon, the ministry has received no questions so far.

Phan Chien Thang, deputy editor-in-chief of the Saigon Times Group, suggested that the ministry collaborate with media outlets to make the portal more user friendly and easily accessible for businesses.

Tran Tuan Anh said most businesses in Vietnam are small- and medium-sized enterprises that don’t have enough resources to access integration policies, including FTAs.

The minister said communication plays a vital role in promptly spreading information about FTAs to the business community and citizens. The Ministry of Industry and Trade has assigned the Multilateral Trade Policy Department to work with communication agencies to effectively deliver the contents and benefits of FTAs to enterprises.

Phan Chien Thang said the CPTPP, which has great influence on the Vietnamese economy, took effect over a year ago but its implementation remains ineffective.

“We had to go through many rounds of tense negotiations to have the CPTPP ratified but over the past year, ministries and government departments have been slow in making full use of the agreement,” he noted.

Tran Tuan Anh admitted that the Ministry of Industry and Trade has not effectively monitored and boosted the implementation of the CPTPP.

The minister said ministries and government departments will have to take responsibility for shortcomings in the implementation of the agreement at the Government meeting. He stressed that such shortcomings should not be repeated during the implementation of the EVFTA. The minister also thanked communication agencies and media outlets for their suggestions and contributions during the seminar.

Duong Anh Duc, vice chairman of HCMC, said government departments and businesses should have knowledge about both the opportunities and challenges brought about by FTAs.

Duc stated that the city is the country’s economic hub with more than 300,000 businesses. He stressed the pivotal role of communication in delivering the contents and benefits of FTAs so that businesses can take advantage of these agreements.

By Le Hoang

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