The joining in the TPP is said to be a driving force for Vietnam to fine-tune its legal framework and enforce laws on the environment (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a driving force for Vietnam to fine-tune its legal framework and enforce laws on the environment, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Tran Hong Ha said.

Those efforts will be successful when the political system, business community and people work together, he said at a seminar held by the US Embassy in Hanoi on April 8. It focused on realising the TPP’s environmental commitments.

Barbara Weisel, US chief negotiator for the TPP, said the deal’s chapter 20 focuses on the environment. It includes regulations on institutional bodies, and the implementation and the settlement of environment-related disputes.

Heidi Stockhaus, a foreign expert at the Vietnamese ministry, said the country should assign members to the environment committee, which helps implement the TPP, seek partners and determine priorities.

At the seminar, participants scrutinised advantages and challenges in the actualisation of the TPP’s environmental commitments and solutions to optimise opportunities – especially those pertaining to the overhaul of environment-related institutions and policies.

Analysing the commitments, Phan Tuan Hung from the ministry pointed out the need to address flaws in the biodiversity law, and the law on forest protection and development.

Twelve Pacific Rim countries, including Vietnam and the US, signed the TPP in New Zealand on February 4, 2016. The pact is a new-generation free trade agreement considered the biggest of its kind in the world. It covers not only trade and investment, but also other issues such as the environment.

The environmental commitments in the TPP aim to boost the reciprocity between trade and environmental policies, promote environmental protection and effective implementation of environmental laws, and strengthen relevant parties’ abilities to solve trade-related environmental problems.

Those commitments are assessed as more stringent than similar ones in previous free trade agreements. They also cover a wide range of spheres under the management of different ministries, including natural resources and environment, agriculture, rural development, and transport.

The TPP is now undergoing a two-year ratification period in which at least six countries – which account for 85 percent of the 12 nations’ combined gross domestic production - must approve the final text for the deal to be implemented.-VNA