APEC officials debate freer trade

Viet Nam saw a trade deficit of US$2.45 billion from the start of the year to mid-August, equivalent to 2 per cent of the total import-export turnover, statistics from the General Department of Customs revealed. — Photo vnmedia.vn Viet Nam saw a trade deficit of US$2.45 billion from the start of the year to mid-August, equivalent to 2 per cent of the total import-export turnover, statistics from the General Department of Customs revealed. During the reviewed period, export turnover saw a year-on-year rise of 19 per cent to $124 billion, while import value hit $126.4 billion, up 23 per cent year on year. However, in the first half of August alone, the country registered outbound sales of $8.63 billion, an 8.4 per cent drop over a half month earlier. The decline in exports was due to a strong slide in key products such as steel and iron, which fell 52.3 per cent, footwear (15 per cent), seafood (14 per cent), electronics and components (9 per cent) and garments and textiles (7.3 per cent). Imports also dropped by 4 per cent to $8.63 billion in the first half of August, with a fall seen in several products such as cloth (17 per cent), telephones and parts (10 per cent), machinery and equipment (8 per cent) and computers, electronics and components (4 per cent). As per the data, the foreign-invested sector’s import-export turnover was around $11.17 billion from August 1 to 15, down 5…... [read more]

South Korea and the U.S. reached no agreement on renegotiating their free trade pact -- decried by President Donald Trump as a "horrible deal" -- a top Seoul official said Tuesday after meeting U.S. counterparts. The U.S. administration under Trump has been seeking to revise the pact, signed by former President Barack Obama and which Trump slammed as a "job killer". "For many, many years, the United States has suffered through massive trade deficits... we'll be changing that," Trump said during a June 30 summit with new South Korean President Moon Jae-In. South Korea -- Asia's fourth-largest economy and the seventh-largest trading partner of the U.S. -- has maintained there is no clear link between the pact and the U.S. trade deficit. Trade officials from both sides gathered in Seoul on Tuesday after Washington called a meeting, but failed to reach "any agreement", Seoul's trade minister Kim Hyun-Chong told reporters. "We did not agree with the unilateral demand by the U.S. to revise the Korea-US FTA" (free trade agreement), Kim said, adding no date had been set for a further meeting. "We also explained that the U.S. trade deficit is a result of a complex array of factors on micro and macro levels, not a result of the Korea-U.S. FTA," he said. Trump's push to revise the deal is part of his wider drive to cut his nation's trade deficits with a number of countries including the South -- a key Asian ally with which it is confronting the…... [read more]

Delegates talk on the sidelines of the event (Source: VNA) HCM City (VNA) – More than 100 delegates from 21 APEC member economies are attending a workshop in Ho Chi Minh City on August 21 and 22 to discuss measures to improve management capacity under the World Trade Organisation (WTO)’s Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT).   The event, part of the third APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM 3) and related meetings, aimed to share experiences in public-private partnership in building and adopting technical standards for the TBT agreement which was initiated by the US and joined by Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Vietnam, among others. Speaking at the event, Chairman of the APEC Sub-Committee on Standards and Conformance (SCSC) Nguyen Van Khoi hailed the member economies for aligning technical standards with the TBT agreement and international practices, towards facilitating trade and investment in the region to realise the Bogor goals and the Action Plan to implement the 2017-2020 Lima Declaration on Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP). Khoi, who is also Deputy Director of the Standards Department under Vietnam’s Directorate of Standards, Metrology and Quality, expressed his hope that the workshop will help cut unnecessary technical barriers to trade, bringing benefits to multilateral trade and businesses in the region, especially small and medium-sized enterprises.-VNA... [read more]

Workers at the HCM City Tax Department instruct tax payers during registration. — VNA/VNS Photo Hoang Hai In a recently released conclusion to a meeting on tax law adjustments, Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue asked that the Ministry of Finance’s (MoF) controversial new amendment drafts to tax laws be adjusted to meet both the national growth plan and the current economic climate. The MoF sought to make changes to the laws on Value Added Tax (VAT), Special Consumption Tax (SCT), Corporate Income Tax (CIT), Personal Income Tax (PIT) and Natural Resources Protection Tax (NRPT). Regarding the recent drafts, the Deputy PM said that revisions and amendments based on public and experts’ opinions, in compliance with other newly issued regulations from the National Assembly (NA), such as the law on Support for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs), or the Law on Investment, were needed. Hue requested the MoF re-examine the VAT law amendments. He asked that some regulations be readjusted, such as agricultural products being exempt from tax registration, goods and services being subject to a 12 per cent VAT level from the previous 10 per cent, or some other groups of goods and services being denied preferential VAT. On the SCT amendments, the Deputy PM said that the MoF must consult the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) before deciding whether or not SCT should be applied to passenger cars with nine seats or fewer. Moving onto the CIT…... [read more]

In a recently released conclusion to a meeting on tax law adjustments, Deputy Prime Minister Vương Đình Huệ asked that the Ministry of Finance’s (MoF) controversial new amendment drafts to tax laws be adjusted to meet both the national growth plan and the current economic climate. Workers at the HCM City Tax Department instruct tax payers during registration. - VNA/VNS Photo Hoàng Hải The MoF sought to make changes to the laws on Value Added Tax (VAT), Special Consumption Tax (SCT), Corporate Income Tax (CIT), Personal Income Tax (PIT) and Natural Resources Protection Tax (NRPT). Regarding the recent drafts, the Deputy PM said that revisions and amendments based on public and experts’ opinions, in compliance with other newly issued regulations from the National Assembly (NA), such as the law on Support for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs), or the Law on Investment, were needed. Huệ requested the MoF re-examine the VAT law amendments. He asked that some regulations be readjusted, such as agricultural products being exempt from tax registration, goods and services being subject to a 12 per cent VAT level from the previous 10 per cent, or some other groups of goods and services being denied preferential VAT. On the SCT amendments, the Deputy PM said that the MoF must consult the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) before deciding whether or not SCT should be applied to passenger cars with nine…... [read more]

The event formed part of activities during the APEC 2017 Food Security Week and the High-Level Policy Dialogue on Enhancing Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture in Response to Climate Change.  According to Gong Xifeng, head of the ATGWG, the group has made great contributions to most APEC economies in hi-tech agriculture, helping ensure food safety and security in the region. The group has focused on cooperation in agricultural technology to enhance the capability of the APEC member economies in agricultural production and relevant sectors, thus improving the agricultural products market in the region and bettering the implementation of relevant regulations in line with the free trade agreements (FTAs). From 2017-2018, the group will continue strengthening the criteria on food safety, dealing with challenges in food security, promoting sustainable application of biofuels in cultivation and hi-tech agriculture to mitigate climate change impacts, and accelerating technology transfer to develop a food value chain in the region. Tran Kim Long, Director of the International Cooperation Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), said Vietnam acknowledges the importance of high technology application in agricultural production, particularly when the country is becoming more vulnerable to natural disasters, climate change, urbanisation, which pose challenges for the agricultural sector of the nation in general and the Mekong Delta in particular. Cooperation among economies in the world in applying technology in agriculture and related sectors is crucial, Long said, adding that this will create…... [read more]

NDO/ VNA – The Agricultural Technical Cooperation Working Group (ATCWG) held a meeting in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho on August 20 to promote technology transfer in agricultural production. The event was formed as part of the activities during the APEC 2017 Food Security Week and a High-Level Policy Dialogue on Enhancing Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture in Response to Climate Change. According to Gong Xifeng, head of the ATGWG, the group has made great contributions to most APEC economies in hi-tech agriculture, helping ensure food safety and security in the region. The group has focused on cooperation in agricultural technology to enhance the capability of the APEC member economies in agricultural production and relevant sectors, thus improving the agricultural products market in the region and bettering the implementation of relevant regulations in line with the free trade agreements (FTAs). From 2017-2018, the group will continue strengthening the criteria of food safety, dealing with challenges in food security, promoting sustainable application of biofuels in cultivation and hi-tech agriculture to mitigate climate change impacts, and accelerating technology transfer to develop a food value chain in the region. Tran Kim Long, Director of the International Cooperation Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), stated that Vietnam acknowledges the importance of high technology application in agricultural production, particularly when the country is becoming more vulnerable to natural disasters, climate change, urbanisation, which pose challenges for the agricultural sector of the nation and the Mekong…... [read more]

The Vietnam-Eurasia Economic Union free trade agreement, which took effect last October, will cut 90% of tariffs and improve competitiveness for the goods of both sides. Last year two-way trade turnover between Vietnam and Russia reached US$2.7 billion, of which Vietnam earned US$1.7 billion from exports to Russia, up 12%. In the first half of this year, the bilateral export turnover continued to grow, fetching nearly US$1.7 billion, up 26.5%. Vietnam’s exports to Russia were valued at US$1.2 billion, up 34%. Aquatic products, vegetables, coffee, cell phones, and accessories were among hard currency earners. Duong Hoang Minh, Vietnamese Trade Councilor in Russia, says that in addition to the advantage of tax reductions, another factor is giving Vietnamese exports to Russia a boost. He noted that “Both sides have exchanged many high-ranking delegations, most recently the delegation led by the Vietnamese State President to Russia at the end of June and early July. During these visits, many economic agreements and contracts have been signed, laying a foundation for future economic cooperation between Vietnam and Russia. In addition, trade promotion activities and trade fairs have been held at Hanoi Trade Center in Moscow.” Since the beginning of this year, the Vietnamese Embassy in Russia has organized programs to link localities of Vietnam and Russia so their business communities can better understand each other’s market and increase cooperation. Garment No 10 Corporation is one Vietnamese company that has established business relations in the Russian…... [read more]

The event formed part of activities during the APEC 2017 Food Security Week and a High-Level Policy Dialogue on Enhancing Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture in Response to Climate Change. At the annual meeting of the High-Level Policy Dialogue on Agricultural Biotechnology According to Gong Xifeng, head of the ATGWG, the group has made great contributions to most APEC economies in hi-tech agriculture, helping ensure food safety and security in the region. The group has focused on cooperation in agricultural technology to enhance the capability of the APEC member economies in agricultural production and relevant sectors, thus improving the agricultural products market in the region and bettering the implementation of relevant regulations in line with the free trade agreements (FTAs). From 2017-2018, the group will continue strengthening the criteria on food safety, dealing with challenges in food security, promoting sustainable application of bio-fuels in cultivation and hi-tech agriculture to mitigate climate change impacts, and accelerating technology transfer to develop a food value chain in the region. Tran Kim Long, Director of the International Cooperation Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), said Vietnam acknowledges the importance of high technology application in agricultural production, particularly when the country is becoming more vulnerable to natural disasters, climate change, urbanization, which pose challenges to the agricultural sector of the nation in general and the Mekong Delta in particular. Cooperation among economies in the world in applying technology in agriculture and…... [read more]

NDO/VNA – Officials from the member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum have highlighted the benefits of establishing competition chapters in free trade agreements (FTAs) and Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs). They gathered at a workshop on FTA Negotiation Skills on Competition of the Committee on Trade and Investment (CTI), which took place in Ho Chi Minh City on August 19, as part of the third APEC Officials Meeting (SOM 3). CTI Chairwoman Marie Sherylyn Aquia stated in her opening remarks that there is a strong relationship between trade and competition policies due to their similarities in objectives. Both trade and competition policies seek to enhance welfare by providing for a more efficient allocation of resources, whether in lowering trade barriers or through promoting competition, she said. The official noted that new, comprehensive economic or trade agreements now feature specific provisions or entire chapters on competition-related matters and that currently, work to negotiate competition policy happens more frequently in regional and bilateral settings. There is a growing recognition that provisions on competition in trade agreements improve competition policies and foster and improve the efficiency of competition in markets, including benefiting consumers and businesses, she said. Toru Ishiguro, from Japan’s Fair Trade Commission, said competition articles in EPAs make enforcement cooperation between competition authorities easier. Through the dialogue in the negotiation for the competition chapter, each agency builds mutual understanding and trust, which leads to a shared awareness of sound enforcement activities, said Ishiguro. …... [read more]




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