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TPP Deal Could Add 30% to Vietnam’s GDP

At a conference in Saigon last week, Charles H. Rivkin, the US Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs, said that if passed, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement is expected to add 30% to Vietnam’s GDP over the next 10 years.

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Rivkin said that though Vietnam has the smallest economy of the 12 nations involved in the free trade deal, it stands to reap huge economic benefits as it would be integrated into global supply chains, adding that US President Barack Obama and US Secretary of State John Kerry would like to enact the TPP before they leave office in 2016, reports Vietnam Plus.

"I cannot give specific times on signing this agreement but negotiations have made positive and significant progress, and we hope it will be finished by the end of the year," he said. 

The passing of the TPP hinges upon congressional approval of the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), according to Rivkin. 

Vietnam-US bilateral trade has soared from US$450 million to US$40 billion over the past 20 years.

"Let's imagine what would happen after the TPP is concluded," said Rivkin.

"There will be a wave of investment hitting Vietnam, and increased market access for foreign investors in Vietnam."

"US businesses have invested in Vietnam and now want to expand to take advantage of opportunities from the TPP agreement. Vietnam also has the advantages of a young, hard-working labor force.” 

The TPP, however, is not without its critics.

Nobel Prize-winning economist, Joseph Stiglitz, has taken issue with the increased powers given to corporations under the agreement, saying: “Even people who are arbitrators say the whole system is corrupt, that it’s a very expensive system, that therefore creates an un-even playing field with big corporations with big, deep pockets can get access to have recourse, whereas smaller firms can’t.”

MIT professor, Noam Chomsky, has widely panned the deal, stating that it is “designed to carry forward the neoliberal project to maximize profit and domination, and to set the working people in the world in competition with one another so as to lower wages to increase insecurity.”

[Photo via Ship Management International]

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