Finance Ministry Proposes Changes to over 100 TPP-related Regulations
During the working visit to Vietnam by US President Barack Obama, the Ministry of Finance of Vietnam worked with Mr Michael Froman, the United States Trade Representative (USTR). Finance Minister Dinh Tien Dung said the law review relating to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) had been completed and was expected to be signed soon. This is the largest trade pact in the world as its signatories account for 40 per cent of the global gross domestic product (GDP) and 30 per cent of global trade value. Therefore, if it is approved and made effective, the deal will create a breakthrough in trade and international investment, not only for Vietnam, and promise to bring enormous benefits to global economic development, especially in the current period.
Minister Dung said the Ministry of Finance basically completed TPP-related law review. The ministry recently submitted two important laws – Law on Import and Export Tax and Law on Customs – to the Government and National Assembly for ratification. At its regular cabinet meeting for May, the Government adopted TPP-related law review results. In July, the Government will report this agreement to the National Assembly for approval. He said, “The Government will submit it to the National Assembly for ratification and Vietnam will thus become a pioneer in TPP ratification.”
Mr Froman said that the very close cooperation with the Ministry of Finance of Vietnam in TPP negotiations, as well as Vietnam’s efforts in talks with the United States, will help conclude the TPP soon. He hoped that TPP will help further boost Vietnam’s economic development.
One of the basic discussion contents was lifting the ceiling price of dairy products for children under six years of age, Mr Froman said. TPP member countries and the EU were much concerned about this, he added. “I don’t know whether the Ministry of Finance will abolish this regulation as committed or not by the end of this year.”
Minister Dinh Tien Dung said that the price cap of milk products for children under six years of age is still being applied. The Ministry of Finance is considering eradicating this regulation in the near future, highly expected from July 1. He however stressed that lifting ceiling prices of dairy products for children under six years of age must ensure harmonised interests between businesses and consumers. “Businesses must also ensure transparency. This is very important and we want them to prove this,” said Mr Dung.
With respect to the Special Consumption Tax Law, Mr Froman wondered whether the enforcement of this law affects US exports to Vietnam or not. The law ensures commitments to the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Minister Dung affirmed that the execution of Decree 108 guiding the enforcement of the Special Consumption Tax Law, including imported alcohol and beer products, will not affect WTO commitments. He added that the Government wanted to reduce customs declarations checked from 35 per cent at present to 15 per cent by the end of 2017. At the same time, to realise TPP commitments in customs, the Ministry of Finance has reviewed all regulations concerning the clearance of goods and modified over 100 current regulations regarded as barriers to the customs release.
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