MOIT anticipates roadblocks to TPP as US presidential candidates oppose the agreement


Khanh, who met with Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue at a working session on international integration on August 26, said Vietnam had wrapped up negotiations for 12 free trade agreements (FTAs).

Regarding the two agreements which have not been ratified, TPP and EVFTA (the EU-Vietnam FTA), Khanh said that after the agreements are ratified by the national legislatures, they will take effect by January 2018.

However, Khanh, who is head of the government’s negotiation delegation, warned that the ratification process ‘may be complicated’ in the US as both presidential candidates – Hillary Clinton of the Democratic Party and Donald Trump of the Republican Party – oppose it.

“As negotiators, we are keeping a close watch over the ratification process so as to make timely reports to the government for suitable solutions,” Khanh said.

As such, an analyst commented, Vietnam’s great efforts in the TPP deal may be in vain if the US Congress does not ratify the agreement, which has been signed by the governments of member countries.

Forbes, in an article published in June 2016, wrote that Vietnam is about to approve TPP trade deal, but it may all be for nothing.

In the latest news, the Vietnam News Agency (VNA) late last week reported that the US Congress may not to bring TPP for a vote in the last months of the US President Obama’s tenure.

VNA quoted Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell as saying that the agreement has some serious flaws and will not be acted upon this year.

However, the hope for having TPP ratified by the US Congress still exists as McConnell said a vote in 2017 might occur if changes are made.

Regarding EVFTA, Khanh said UK citizens have voted for Brexit, but until the UK leaves, it will still be a member of the EU and there will not be any changes in the agreement.

The negotiation delegation has been actively cooperating with the European Commission to bring the negotiated agreement into force. In case the UK leaves the EU and the articles of the agreement need amendment, the two sides will work together on it.

Commenting the impact of FTAs on Vietnam’s economy, Khanh said Vietnam has been taking advantages of the agreements to boost exports and develop its economy. In trade with Japan, for example, Vietnam has begun seeing a trade surplus instead of deficit.