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Vietnam to discuss ratification of major free trade pact

Representatives of CPTPP country members pose for a photo after the signing of the deal in Santiago, Chile on March 8, 2018.
Representatives of CPTPP country members pose for a photo after the signing of the deal in Santiago, Chile on March 8, 2018.

Vietnam is set to discuss ratification of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership this month.
Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, Chairwoman of the National Assembly (NA), Vietnam’s legislative body, said the NA’s Standing Committee will decide Wednesday whether or not to present the CPTPP to the parliament for ratification.

The Standing Committee will discuss the trade pact after listening to presentations from Tran Tuan Anh, Minister of Industry and Trade and Nguyen Van Giau, Chairman of the NA’s Committee for External Relations.

Should the Standing Committee approve the trade agreement, the government will present this to the NA at its upcoming session that opens on October 22.

Speaking to the media while on an official visit to Japan earlier this month, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc had said that there was a high possibility that Vietnam will ratify the CPTPP this year.

“Vietnam is striving to be one of the first six country members to ratify the CPTPP,” he said.

PM Phuc also said that Vietnam welcomes countries which have announced interest in joining the CPTPP, like Indonesia, South Korea, Thailand and the U.K.

But the expansion of CPTPP will only happen after the trade pact has come into effect and will be decided on by all members, he added.

Originally a 12-member agreement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the pact was thrown into limbo when President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the deal in January 2017.

Following the U.S. withdrawal, the remaining 11 countries renegotiated parts of the TPP, removing some of Washington’s demands. In March, they signed the revised CPTPP, also known as TPP-11.

The trade deal would become effective 60 days after being ratified by at least six of its signatories. It will reduce tariffs in countries that together account for more than 13 percent of the global economy – a total of $10 trillion in gross domestic product.

The current members of CPTTP are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.

Currently, the pact has been ratified by Mexico, Japan and Singapore.