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Viet Nam & UN
Agenda 54 (a): International Trade and Development
10-25-2007, 12:00 am

Statement by Mr Nguyen Tat Thanh, Deputy Permanent Representative of Viet Nam,

at the Second Committee on Item Agenda 54 (a): International Trade and Development

New York, 25 October 2007

Madam Chair,

The Delegation of Viet Nam aligns itself with the statements made earlier by the distinguished representatives of Pakistan on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, and Indonesia on behalf of ASEAN.  Nonetheless, we would like to take this opportunity to highlight some issues of our particular interest.

Madam Chair,

             Taking stock of the important contribution of trade to development and to the attainment of the MDGs, Viet Nam believes that the United Nations should play a more proactive and important role in global trade issues, especially in providing the much-needed political impetus to the Doha Development Agenda and guiding it to a successful conclusion.

           My Delegation is convinced that an equitable and balanced outcome of the Doha Round holds the potential to yield significant global welfare gains and fulfill its promises of development and poverty reduction to developing countries.  In this connection, we share the disappointment expressed by a number of delegations that the Doha Round has reached an impasse.  It is regrettable to note that while developing countries have shown their willingness to compromise by accepting tariff cuts on thousands of industrial products, developed countries remain reluctant to cut their agricultural subsidies and domestic support, which amounted to USD 268 billion last year, or 27% of their total farm receipts.  These subsidies seriously distort world commodity prices and limit agricultural exports from developing countries.  As a new member of the WTO, Viet Nam believes that for the current deadlock to be broken, and for the benefits of trade to be shared in a fairer and more equitable manner, the developed countries must bear the primary responsibility, resist protectionist pressures, and move now, before too late. 

Madam Chair,

          Over the past 20 years, Viet Nam has taken enormous unilateral and multilateral steps in trade liberalization and hence is now one of the most open economies in Southeast Asia, according to a recent study by the World Bank.  As a matter of fact, our accession to the WTO early this year has given a boost to our trade relations with the rest of the world, with two-way trade volumes expected to increase by 20% this year.  Evidently, trade has been contributing significantly to our overall economic growth rate, which stood at about 7.5% in the last two decades, and is expected to reach a new record of 8.5% this year.  The poverty rate in Viet Nam, according to UN criteria, was cut by half, from 57% to 28%, within 10 years from 1993 to 2002, and is expected to be further reduced by half to 14% this year, that is within 5 years.  If these trends continue, Viet Nam will have graduated from the low-income developing country status by the end of next year.  We would therefore suggest that our experience with wide-ranging trade liberalization, which could serve very well as an example for open-trade policy deliberation and decision-making, be fully credited and seriously taken into consideration in all multilateral trade negotiations.

Madam Chair,

As a responsible member of the world community, Viet Nam shares the benefits, as well as the burdens, of expanding prosperity by actively contributing to the advancement of inter-regional, regional, sub-regional and bilateral arrangements.  Earlier this year, Viet Nam and other ASEAN member countries committed ourselves to accelerating the ASEAN Community, including the ASEAN Economic Community, whereby Southeast Asia is expected to be transformed into a region with free movement of goods, services and investment by the year 2015.  As a group of dynamic economies, ASEAN is also looking forward to completing its free-trade negotiations with Japan soon, while similar agreements with the European Union, Australia, New Zealand and others are within reach.  In parallel with these efforts, Viet Nam attaches utmost importance to promoting trade and investment relations with developing countries across the world in the South-South co-operation framework, as well as in collaboration with various specialized agencies of the United Nations and other organizations.

Madam Chair,

Let me conclude by reaffirming that Viet Nam is prepared to dedicate itself to working closely with Member States and international organizations to build a fair, equitable and non-discriminatory international trading system that benefits all countries around the globe, especially the developing countries.

I thank you, Madam Chair.

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