The RCEP, like other FTAs, is expected to present advantages to Vietnam and so will be given appropriate attention.
Vietnam will give priority to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), Director General of Multilateral Trade Policy Department under Ministry of Industry and Trade, Mr. Luong Hoang Thai, told the Commercial Counselor Conference 2016 held in Hanoi on February 17.
When asked by the Commercial Counselor to India about a free trade agreement (FTA) between the two, he said there was yet to be any official announcement and that the RCEP, of which India is a member, was the focus. “The RCEP is one of the three largest FTAs in the world,” Mr. Thai explained.
Vietnam being signatory to the TPP and now the RCEP, he emphasized, is not because of power balances between the “North” and the “West”. In the TPP the US is the most powerful nation, whereas in the RCEP it is China. “There is no possibility that Vietnam will cooperate with one country and ignore others,” he said. “Any cooperation must be based on economic benefit and competitive advantages.”
Issues raised at the conference by Vietnamese commercial counselors from around the world included whether ASEAN should follow the EU in removing the consensus rule, how to enhance trade between Vietnam and Spain, and the differences between the Vietnam - Japan FTA and the TPP, given that the two are TPP members.