The National Assembly’s External Affairs Committee and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) held a seminar to share experience in the negotiations and signing of free trade agreements (FTA) in Hanoi on April 19.

According to Deputy Chairman of the NA External Affairs Committee Ngo Duc Manh, Vietnam has kept pursuing its open policy of active integration into international economics and prepared economic and human resource conditions to successfully implement the integration process on the basis of upholding internal strength while ensuring independence, self-reliance, equality and mutual interests.

The signing and negotiations of international treaties is one of the issues under the supervision of the NA External Affairs Committee, he said.

Talking about Vietnam ’s challenges and benefits during FTA negotiations and signing, former US trade representative Professor Susan Schwab said the signing of FTA with other countries, including the US , brought benefits to Vietnam in trade development.

The country’s export-import structure has been changed to suit the global supply chain, while long-term and high-value foreign direct investment flows have increased, benefiting enterprises, she said.

She also said that Vietnam ’s accession to the WTO gave the country a chance to enjoy tariff reduction applied to its exports.

According to former Deputy Prime Minister Vu Khoan, Vietnam needs to change its way of thinking to be compatible with world trends, have high political determination, take advantage of opportunities and overcome challenges in order to achieve its goals in the negotiations and signing of FTA.

Despite being partners, there are still differences in economic development levels between VN and the US , he said, adding that they should follow international law but consider the development of each country during the negotiations.

The success of negotiations and signing also depends on the consensus of ministries and branches, and the close direction and consultation between the Government and the NA.

According to Deputy Industry and Trade Minister Tran Quoc Khanh, by December 31, 2011, Vietnam had joined eight regional FTA, which focused mainly on trading in goods.

Vietnam should also pay attention to partners outside the region which can complement rather than compete, since FTA will help the country gradually better its economic regulatory environment, enhance transparency and create favourable conditions for business, the deputy minister said.-VNA