Vietnam is working fast to repair business gaps in anticipation of a myriad of bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements (FTA) expected to be signed in 2015.

Commenting on FTA impacts, Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) Vu Tien Loc said domestic firms will be able to enter major markets worldwide with minimal tariffs and barriers, such as the US, Europe, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the ASEAN, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

However, he urged exporters to meet international requirements of standards and quality, safety and hygiene, and source of origin, as stringent technical barriers are to be expected in many of the agreements.

According to the VCCI, up to 96 percent of Vietnamese firms are considered small- or medium-sized and are weak in capital, technology and skills, limiting their ability to compete with foreign rivals in the global supply chain.

A representative from Truong Hai auto company predicted that low-cost automobiles from Indonesia and Thailand are likely to break into the Vietnamese market once tariffs are eliminated, which will pose challenges to domestic auto assemblers.

Chairman of the Vietnam Federation of Mechanical Engineering Associations and former Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Huu Hao also admitted weaknesses in human resources, technology and corporate management in other business sectors.

Ho Nghia Dung, Chairman of the Vietnam Steel Association, stressed the need to crack down on counterfeit products taking tolls on domestic business activity.

The Vietnam Association of Mechanical Industry submitted a draft of recommendations to the government, including more 0-3 percent loans for support industry within 15-20 years, or subsidy on loan interest for the first five years.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade and other agencies are also asked to modify policies for the auto industry.-VNA