Strengthening market economy institutions and improving the business environment is one of the important objectives of the Beyond World Trade Organisation Programme (B-WTO), reported the Ministry's of Industry and Trade's Vietnam Economic News.

The B-WTO Programme, funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the UK Department for International Development, has been implemented for seven years and significantly contributed to boosting Vietnam’s integration into the global economy. International economic integration has brought positive outcomes and had a positive impact on the Vietnamese economy and society, but it also brought challenges.

“As soon as Vietnam became a WTO member in 2007, the government called upon international donors to support its efforts to manage the country’s integration into the global economy and its transition to a market economy,” Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Cam Tu was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

The B-WTO Programme's Phase 1 from January 2007 to March 2008 supported the development of a Government Action Plan and the action plans of ministries, sectors and localities, as well as a pilot multi-donor trust fund model to support the implementation of the Government Action Plan.

Based on the results achieved in Phase 1, Phase 2 has been implemented from September 2009 to March 2014 with the aim to implement priority policy actions mentioned in the Government Action Plan.

In Phase 2, it supports 48 projects with its beneficiaries including 28 departments and institutes under eight ministries and sectors, seven organisations and associations, and four local departments, businesses and farmers.

The deputy minister said that in Phase 2, the support had been relevant with the Vietnamese government’s priorities and its short-term objective had been achieved, paving the way for realising the long-term goal of “strengthening the government’s capacity to manage Vietnam’s integration into the global economy and its transition to a socialist-oriented market economy”.

For the last more than four years, Phase 2 has helped Vietnam learn from international experiences to improve the quality of amendments and supplements to policies and regulations, especially international economic integration-related policies.

Michael Wilson, Minister Counselor at the Australian Embassy in Hanoi, said: “B-WTO helped bring about policy, regulatory and institutional reform and helped boost the benefit gained from reforms. The cumulative impact of the programme is that Vietnam has a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities of economic integration and stronger capacity to deal with these challenges. This understanding can support an ongoing reform process that, if followed through, will see Vietnam continue to grow in strength and stature. This is a good outcome for Vietnam, obviously, but it is also a good outcome for Australia and the region more broadly.”

According to former Minister of Trade Truong Dinh Tuyen, one of the most important objectives of the B-WTO Programme is supporting efforts to strengthen market economy institutions and improve the business environment. This helps resolve three issues, namely creating a resource allocation mechanism and a highly competitive business environment, mitigating the adverse impact of international integration on vulnerable groups, and effectively managing the integration.

Of these, the first issue is pivotal and will be addressed through efforts to strengthen market economy institutions and improve the business environment in Vietnam. Only when the economy is functioned based on market mechanisms, resources can be allocated more effectively and a fair competitive environment created, he added.

Regarding the B-WTO Programme’s support for improving the integration management and coordination capability, Vo Tri Thanh, Deputy Director of the Central Institute for Economic Management, said: “It is essential to involve the whole government in planning and managing integration.”

According to him, this requires raising the awareness about new features of global production and business activities, and integration commitments – a pillar in development strategies – institutional reforms and economic restructuring, while strengthening the capability of implementing integration commitments and assessing their impacts (in conjunction with planning, making and improving policies).

This also requires focusing on relevant ministries/sectors and more challenging issues such as reorganisation of state-owned enterprises, competition and intellectual property rights; improving the integration coordination and inter-sector cooperation models to address integration-related issues; and setting up an efficient monitoring system with a high level of independence in making assessments, authority and resources for monitoring, and annual reports on integration-related issues.-VNA