Vietnam Looks to WTO Membership by 2005

Vietnam is looking to joining the World Trade Organisation by 2005, and its Government has urged businesses to sharpen their competitiveness ahead of WTO entry.

Vietnam Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Manh Cam said late last week that Vietnam had spent four years making policies transparent and a further four years were required for negotiations, so proactive steps should be taken if the country was to join the WTO no later than 2005.

"The WTO ministerial meeting has started a new round of negotiations expected to end by 2004 when new conditions for WTO entry will be forthcoming.

This means Vietnam should join the WTO in three years' time to avoid having to meet the more difficult conditions," Cam told a meeting with State officials involved in this area.

The meeting also heard the experience of WTO entry negotiations by Russia and China.

The Ministry of Trade has submitted, for the Politburo's consideration, a WTO entry blueprint in which it proposes the process be completed by 2004.

Vietnam is likely to be one of the last countries to join WTO if this deadline is missed, according to the submission.

WTO currently has 138 member countries and 34 observers, with 5-7 observers expected to become members late this year. The remainder, except Russia and Ukraine, are in the final stages of negotiations, and the majority are reportedly able to become WTO members by 2005.

People's Daily Online ---