Experience from other developing WTO entrants a must: expert

November 7, 2006


Vietnam should gain experience from other developing nations in joining the WTO to tackle challenges and raise its position among the global trade body members, a Vietnamese American expert said.


Professor Ngo Thanh Nhan from New York University said becoming the 150th member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Vietnam would be eligible to benefit from the repeal of export limits and have more chances to penetrate markets in developed countries.

But he stressed from the experience of many developing countries, Vietnam should be watchful of the possibility that the US and some developed nations might have the latitude to breach WTO’s rules, while the new members like Vietnam must abide by them.

The Vietnamese Government recently signed an agreement to protect the intellectual rights to Microsoft products, but why did it select Microsoft instead of other similar but “free” operating system like China’s OpenOffice, Nhan questioned in his Tuoi Tre newspaper article.

“Moreover, Microsoft operating system’s cp1258 standard for the Vietnamese language was not the international standard,” the computational linguist added.

Nhan also warned that Vietnam should focus on protecting the environment after joining the WTO, keep a close watch over the developing of genetically-modified food or farm produce and try to protect the copyrights of traditional rice strains.

“I think the government should help Vietnamese farmers learn why those in other countries raised their voice against the WTO’s agriculture-related policies, so they can be prepared to cope with the upcoming challenges,” he said.

Labor union, education

Like many other countries, Nhan said, Vietnam should concentrate on developing labor unions, which help Vietnamese laborers protect their rights and interests.

“The Vietnamese Government should comply with the Law on Labor Union and Constitution to prevent hired Vietnamese workers from being exploited by foreign employers,” he said.

Joining the WTO also required Vietnamese citizens, entrepreneurs and workers to improve their legal knowledge, Nhan said, adding currently that poor countries were at disadvantage compared with the developed nations in the WTO playground.

He suggested to help improve the public understanding of laws and many other matters Vietnam should apply compulsory and free primary education.

Under this policy, all Vietnamese children would go to school without paying any charges, including those for meals and extra-curricula at schools.

Concluding his article, the professor believed that with great effort, the Vietnamese government and its people would surmount the challenges and strive forward.

Source: Tuoi Tre – Translated by Thu Thuy


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