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> Supachai Panitchpakdiís speeches
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It gives me great pleasure to be here again together with my
colleagues in the Vietnamese negotiation team to participate this Meeting of
the Working Party on Viet Namís Accession to the WTO.
At the outset, I would like to congratulate you, H.E Ambassador Eirik Glenne,
in your new capacity as the Chairman of the Working Party. We are confident
that with your able guidance, substantive progress could be achieved in this
Meeting ó which, in our view, is a stepping-stone to Viet Namís bid for WTO
We are committed to move our accession negotiations steadily forward and to
work with Members on the first Draft of the Working Partyís Report, which
was put on the table at the last Meeting. Viet Nam has demonstrated its best
efforts to bring its trade regime into conformity with WTO rules at the
earliest possible date as reflected in this comprehensive document. We are
now confident to see most of the WTO obligations to be implemented upon
At the eighth and the ninth sessions of the Working Party, Viet Nam has
committed to comply with Agreements on TRIPS [trade-related intellectual
property rights], TRIMs [trade-related investment measures], CVA [customs
valuation], SPS [sanitary and phytosanitary measures], TBT [technical
barriers to trade], Import Licensing, PSI [pre-shipment inspection] and
Rules of Origin from the date of accession to the WTO. In order to
demonstrate the determination of the Government of Viet Nam, in this session
of the Working Party, Viet Nam continues to make some breakthrough steps. I
am delighted to highlight Vietnamís new commitments in the following areas:
(1) First, in respect of excise tax applicable to motor vehicles, a proposal
made by the Government of Viet Nam is being submitted to the National
Assembly for approval so as to make it possible to apply the uniform tax
rates for imported and domestically produced automobiles in full compliance
with Article III of the GATT 1994 upon accession.
(2) Second, with respect to excise tax rates on draft beer and draught beer,
the Government of Viet Nam has also submitted its proposal to the National
Assembly for approval so as to be able to equalize the excise tax rates on
these products from the date of accession.
(3) Third, Viet Nam commits to eliminate export subsidies in the form of
direct payment from the State budget contingent upon export performance from
the date of accession.
(4) Fourth, Viet Nam accepts the commitment regarding Free zones, special
economic areas that goods produced in export processing zones under tax and
tariff provisions that exempt imports and imported inputs from tariffs and
certain taxes would be subject to normal customs formalities when entering
the rest of Viet Nam, including the application of tariffs and taxes, thus
abiding by the obligations of the SCM [subsidies and countervailing
measures] and AoA [agriculture] Agreements.
(5) Fifth, the TBT enquiry point will be in operation by the end of this
(6) Sixth, the SPS enquiry point has been officially established and will
come into operation in the coming time.
(7) Seventh, regarding trading rights, the Government of Viet Nam has
expanded trading rights for foreign invested enterprises. In the coming
time, Viet Nam will continue to expand trading rights for foreign
enterprises and individuals to be able to export and import goods, except a
very small number of sensitive goods or goods falling into the category of
state trading (such as petroleum, pharmaceuticals, sugar, tobacco, salt,
fertilizers, rice, cultural products, etc.) in accordance with the laws and
regulations on exportation and importation.
These are in addition to the extensive and new commitments we have presented
in our documents sent for this Meeting in the areas of trading rights,
removal of import prohibition on second hand automobiles, etc.
(8) Eighth, a detailed comparison between the provisions of the recently
issued Decision of the Prime Minister on Import Licensing Regulation and
those of WTOís Agreement on Import Licensing Procedures is hereby available
for circulation. It should be underlined that the new Decision is based on
the WTO rules and regulations that should make our licensing regime to be in
full conformity with WTO rules.
Manisfesting the determination to push up our public administration reform
and to join the WTO, both the National Assembly and the Government of Viet
Nam have attached the top priority to legislation and strengthening of the
legal system towards transparency, conformity with WTO rules with the aim to
abide by all commitments made in the terms of accession. Following the visit
paid by the Chairman of the National Assembly of Viet Nam ó Mr. Nguyen Van
An on March 23rd, 2005 and his meeting with H.E. Mr. Supachai ó General
Director of the WTO and the Chairman of the Working Party, the 2005
legislative program of the National Assembly has been accelerated upon
request of the Government to meet emerging requirements for approaching WTO
membership. In the seventh session commencing on May 5, 2005, the National
Assembly has decided to give priority to, and especially to extend the
session for half a month for the discussion of adoption of the laws. It is
planned that this Session will discuss and adopt 11 revised and
newly-stipulated laws, which are: Civil Code (amended), Commercial Law
(amended), Viet Nam Maritime Law (amended), Pharmaceutical Law, Viet Nam
Railways Law, Education Law (amended), State Auditing Law, Law on
Conclusion, Accession to and Implementation of International Treaties,
Amended and Supplemented Customs Law, etc...
Beside, the National Assembly will be presented with and have comments on
another 12 laws to be adopted in the next session in November 2005, which
are: Law on Tourism, Amended and Supplemented Mineral Law, Intellectual
Property Law, Law on Exercising Thrift and Anti-Waste, Law on Environmental
Protection (amended), Law on Means of Transfer, Law on e-Transaction, Law on
Housing and Accommodation, Law on Import-Export Duties (amended), Law on
Enterprise, Law on Investment, and Law on Anti-Corruption. As a result, Viet
Namís National Assembly is scheduled to approve more than 20 laws and
ordinances to meet the requirements made by Members of the Working Party.
In respect of bilateral negotiations, our talks with Members have
progressively narrowed the gaps between us on the basis of increasingly
developed understanding. Viet Nam is now coming to the very advanced stage
with all of our negotiating partners. Nonetheless, I would like to stress
that the goodwill and the flexible and practical attitude of all parties
concerned are undoubtedly a sufficient condition for a mutually satisfactory
conclusion of all bilateral deals.
In order to reach close to the consensus between Viet Nam and the Working
Partyís Members on remaining issues on the basis of mutual understanding, I
would like to take this opportunity to again call on WTO Members to
recognize not only in words but also in action the fact that Viet Nam
remains a low-level developing country with a transitional economy, whereby
over 70% of the population lives on agriculture, and the per capital income
is just more than USD 400, hence Viet Nam is eligible for special and
differential treatment granted under WTO Agreements. We would like to
express our high appreciation to those Members with whom our bilateral
negotiations have been concluded successfully for their taking into account
of this fact and accepting to grant Viet Nam the flexibilities essential to
help it get accustomed to the new and challenging environment. Viet Nam is
keen to honouring its commitments once taken. Hence, we are willing to make
necessary commitments when they are commensurate with the particular needs
and conditions of our economic development. Viet Nam trusts that with
assistance and understanding from WTO Members, we can resolve the remaining
differences among us and share the expectation of a ďwin-winĒ solution in
Viet Namís accession negotiation process.
During the last session of the Working Party, we all saw the hope of
wrapping up Viet Namís membership negotiations expeditedly on the horizon.
This goal is also what Viet Nam has been making its best efforts to achieve.
Now that Viet Namís willingness, determination and efforts have been shown,
it is our hope to see the Membersí reciprocal flexibility and goodwill. This
would be a critical catalyst for helping us to finish our work and fulfill
the common goal of this Working Party to bring Viet Nam into the WTO family.
Finally, I would like to express our Governmentís gratitude to the WTO
Secretariat for the excellent cooperation and understanding that they have
always extended to this accession. My special and particular thanks go to
those staffs in the Accession Division of the WTO Secretariat who have
laboured tirelessly to make the necessary preparations for this meeting. I
strongly believe that we all here are looking forward to a constructive and
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