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WTO Integration: Gov’t Goes Side by Side with Businesses
27 | 07 | 2007
More than 100 Vietnamese enterprises attended the seminar “WTO Integration: Government’s Action Programme and enterprises’ strategies” held by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) in coordination with the Post-WTO Entry Technical Assistance Programme in Hanoi July 10.
Mr Hoang Van Dung, Vice Chairman of VCCI, said after Vietnam joined the WTO, Vietnamese enterprises have favourable conditions to expand exports to the world market, enjoy fairer competition, better and more transparent legal corridors and business environment, fairer resettlement of trade disputes and have better access to credit and information technology.
However, according to Mr Dung, opportunity always comes in parallel with challenge. Vietnamese enterprises have to cope with severe competition in their home market if they do not have suitable strategies and development steps. Goods and services, trading, investment, environment, society and security will face challenges if Vietnamese companies do not successfully improve themselves.
Ms Pham Chi Lan, former Chairman of VCCI, said the most serious impact of WTO accession is increasing competition on the Vietnamese agricultural produce market. “The penetration of many foreign companies into the agricultural business in Vietnam exposes issues of quality, standards, prices and service for farm products. This forces Vietnamese enterprises to make improvements to compete and survive,” said Ms Lan. Given rice as an example, Vietnamese customers prefer Thai rice to local, because Thai rice is more delicious but the price is similar to that of Vietnam.
To improve the competitiveness of Vietnamese farm products, Vietnam needs to meet several basic requirements, according to Ms Lan. The first is applying the GAP process (food safety control during production, harvest, preservation and storage) to ensure safety and hygiene. Following are high product quality, large production scale and cost-effective farming. To do this, close cooperation between the Government, scientists, banks and farmers is indispensable. Agricultural companies need to grasp information about market demand, consumption trends and product quality to instruct and order farmers to produce suitable commodities; purchase, preserve, process and package; organise sales, marketing and after-sales service networks, and develop trademarks. Especially, they should pay attention to market/consumer response to make timely adjustments for farmers,” Lan added.
Assistance for improving competitiveness and developing Vietnamese enterprises with policies matching WTO commitments in the current context is imperative. Thus, in addition to government action programmes, enterprises need to bring internal forces, initiative and self-confidence into full play. In this way, the Vietnamese business community will create a strong foothold and limit the risks of the global market.

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