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Vietnam Today

PM hails Asian dreams, hints at new trade pact with US

Released at: 14:19, 05/06/2017

PM hails Asian dreams, hints at new trade pact with US

Photo: VGP

Prime Minister tells Tokyo conference that protectionism should not deter Asian countries from strengthening economic ties.

by Quang Huy

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said the Vietnamese Government will negotiate a bilateral agreement with the US and called on other Asian countries not to let any fear of protectionism deter them from strengthening economic ties.

“History shows that whether we support or oppose globalization, it remains an inevitable trend,” he told the 23rd International Conference on The Future of Asia, organized by Nikkei Inc. in Tokyo on June 5.

Citing economic development on the old Silk Road, he stressed that globalization “is not merely an economic process but also reflects the desire of humankind to reach further, pursue well-being, and conquer challenges.”

During his speech, the Prime Minister also emphasized Asia’s rising profile in the global economy. The region boasted the largest nominal GDP among the world’s continents in 2016, up from third in 2010.

“We often hear about the American dream or the Chinese dream, while the Myanmar dream, the Lao dream, the Cambodian dream or the Vietnamese dream are rarely heard of in the media,” he said, adding that he believes that “Asia will be a place where the dreams of all countries, big and small, developed and developing, will all be heard of and respected.”

Raising concerns over Asia’s pressing security issues, such as territorial friction in the East Sea and tensions on the Korean Peninsula, the Prime Minister urged “responsible conduct on the basis of equality, mutual respect, and the rule of law.”

With the US, Vietnam’s largest trade partner, the Prime Minister said the government will negotiate a bilateral agreement. He was the first leader from ASEAN to meet with US President Donald Trump, where he signed “more than $12 billion worth of deals in trade of equipment and machinery.”

Vietnam is currently negotiating four free trade agreements on top of its existing 12. The country is also working closely with the remaining parties of the TPP, from which the US recently withdrew, now dubbed the TPP-11. Without the US, this economic grouping becomes much smaller in terms of trade value, especially when compared to the regional trade pact being championed by China.

Since taking office in April 2016, Prime Minister Phuc has been pushing deregulation, including an initiative to equitize a number of State-owned enterprises. In Tokyo, he reiterated his commitment to building an “enabling government” that serves citizens and businesses. “The government will continue to improve the investment-related legal and policy framework towards greater consistency, transparency and predictability,” he vowed.

He attended the conference as part of his five-day visit to Japan, where he will also hold talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Emperor Akihito, parliamentary leaders, several prefecture governors, and representatives of major economic groups and small and medium-sized enterprises.

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