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Vietnam eyes enhanced legal frameworks for trade remedies

by VTV413 June 2016 Last updated at 15:31 PM

VTV.vn - In the 10 years since the country opened its doors through joining the WTO, Vietnamese goods are constantly battling investigations in foreign markets, but have failed to create the same technical and trade barriers at home.

Vietnamese products face roughly 100 trade investigations overseas, but local authorities have only enforced measures to tackle six such cases in Vietnam. Has the domestic legal framework provided enough support and protection to Vietnamese products?

Out of the 6 cases submitted for investigation by Vietnamese firms, four were successful and led to measures. Those include glass products, vegetable oil and steel products.

Le Phuoc Vu, CEO of Hoa Sen Steel Corporation said: “Our company has been involved in 4 or 5 trade dumping investigations both in foreign and domestic market and succeeded in some. The firm has to be well-prepared and be prepared to work with other firms and associations to seek help from lawyers".

However, the director of the WTO & Integration Centre under the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry Nguyen Thi Thu Trang said though trade remedies measures were no longer unfamiliar to Vietnamese firms, especially in the last 2-3 years, the application of trade barrier instruments remains modest.

Nguyen Thi Thu Trang, Director of WTO & Integration Centre,Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry said: “Vietnamese businesses are still one step behind foreign firms. Most foreign businesses have professional legal divisions responsible for taking care of trade disputes”.

Pham Le Vinh, Lawyer of Hanoi Lawyer Association said: “Vietnamese businesses seem scared about taking legal action. Trade disputes seem a serious problem to them. However, they need to understand that under the TPP Agreement, trade disputes are indispensible as barriers will be gradually removed. Trade remedies will be useful solutions then”.

According the Competition Authority, Vietnam’s first legal regulations for trade remedies were introduced 14 years ago, when the country were about to join the WTO. However, those legal provisions were based on WTO regulations without considering the actual situation. Under the new context of new-generation FTAs, it’s time for Vietnam to review its current regulations on trade remedies and supplement new policies.

Pham Chau Giang, Head of Investigation Division for Trade Remedies, Vietnam Competition Authority, MoIT said: “The MOIT has been constructing a draft law on Foreign Trade Management. We have published the document to collect opinions from businesses and experts. We also suggest there should be more close and effective collaboration between MOIT and other bodies”.

Nguyen Phuong Nam, Deputy Director of Vietnam Competition Authority, MoIT said: "Trade remedies are technically complicated, requiring much effort to build a competent legal framework. We are looking to other models from the EU, the US, and South Korea. In the past year, the competition authority has received support from Australian government in this field. Those mentioned are the leading countries in terms of trade remedies application, and Vietnam is flexibly learning from them”.

Besides efforts from related authority to map out supporting policies trade remedies instruments, the MOIT said that Vietnamese businesses must enhance their knowledge on trade remedies and get prepared to be capable of using these instruments.

Nguyen Phuong Nam, Deputy Director of Vietnam Competition Authority, MoIT said: "Businesses should be aware of the trade remedies tools, prepare themselves and submit required documents to the Competition Authority. They should believe in our directions as we are the responsible agency for trade remedies in Vietnam and are willing to help them resolve the disputes".

The VCCI said that under the upcoming effective FTAs, Vietnam will remove 95% of taxes on imported goods by 2018. Meanwhile, more than 90 percent of Vietnamese enterprises are small and medium sized.

The threat of increased competition is real. However, businesses can also seek feasible solutions through learning more about trade remedies, partnering with one another or actively seeking support from relevant authority and the changing laws and policies.

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