Ex-chief of the World Trade Organisation Pascal Lamy has called on Vietnam to harmonise legal regulations, improve logistics and focus on adding value to the economy to better benefit from international trade.

Speaking at an event organised in Hanoi on August 11 by the Vietnam Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Lamy, who officially signed Vietnam's accession to the WTO in 2006, said patterns of trade in the world had been changing rapidly, requiring countries to take full advantage of its competitive advantages.

Increased trade openness meant countries must pay more attention to non-tariff measures to protect consumers from risks such as those related to health and the environment, he noted.

Lamy said Vietnamese enterprises must realise that their products had to meet stricter technical and safety requirements in the context of global trade, even in the lower-end market segment. Improving the quality of products would allow countries such as Vietnam to protect domestic consumers and local jobs. Moreover, producers faced increased scrutiny of their products as consumers became more educated.

Vietnam could consider people its competitive advantage, yet this required more investment and attention to education, he said. For example, in the seafood industry, that meant using the available human resources to improve the quality of fishing and processing and add value to the products.

Lamy is scheduled to attend the first international conference on multilateral foreign policy held in Hanoi on August 12. The 200 domestic and foreign delegates, including former UN Under-Secretary General Jayantha Dhanapala and former Singaporean Foreign Minister George Yeo, will discuss the implementation of Vietnam's foreign policy over the past three decades with Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung delivering the keynote speech.-VNA