Workers make clothes for export (Photo: VNA).

Ho Chi Minh City (VNA) – Vietnam is forecast to grow 6.5 percent or less in 2016, depending on economic restructuring progress, said Truong Dinh Tuyen, a former trade minister and senior adviser to the Government in negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal.

At a conference held in Ho Chi Minh City on April 8 to analyse challenges and opportunities brought about by the TPP, Tuyen said free trade agreements (FTAs) that Vietnam has participated in will have little impact this year, and difficulties have arisen in the local market with the global economy’s slow recovery. It will take a while for new portfolios to gain momentum after the transition of power, he added.

According to Tuyen, drastic action to restructure the economy will lead to slower growth in the short term. The slowdown is healthy, and will soon be balanced with a significant improvement in the business climate.

Participating experts forecast the TPP agreement will take effect in 2017. The pact and other FTAs will stimulate the global economy. In Vietnam, by then, the management apparatus at levels will be operating more smoothly, with start-up businesses on the rise. These factors are expected to boost growth in 2017 and 2018.

Herb Cochran, executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (AmCham), stressed that Vietnamese enterprises should invest in production of goods right now.

They need to work on papers to accredit their products’ origins and components for export to a TPP member state, he said.

Le Van Khoa, Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee, said Ho Chi Minh City is committed to helping local firms prepare for TPP through information updates and guidance on trade commitments, intelligent property laws and labourers, among other things.-VNA