August 18, 2005, Vietnam News

Hanoi – An international seminar on building compettiveness in Asian countries opened in Hanoi on Tuesday.

The seminar is part of the 7UP2 project, funded by the British and Swedish governments, help enhance the abilities of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Nepal, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to build competition Foreign and domestic officials offered comments on Viet Nam’s progress.

Hans Peter Egler, a representative from Secretariat for Economic Affairs of Switzerland (SECO), praised Viet Nam’s dynamism during its 20 years of renewal, saying that from acou ntry quite unfamiliar with the concept of competition, Viet Nam has become a major trade partner, offering many important goods and services. It has made noticeable achievements in recent times in improving the business environment, but there are still a lot of things to be done ahead.

Meanwhihle, Roger Nellist, a representative from the UK Department for International Development (DFID), said it is vital to have a comprehensive economic management mechanism in order to have a good investment climate.

Pradeep Mehta, secretary general of the Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS), stressed the role of the public sectgor in boosting cooperation among the regional countries, as well as the role of the International Network of the Civil Society Organisation on Competition (INCSOC).

Other participants also spoke highloy of Vietnam’s Competition Law, which was issued at the end of November 2004 and took effect on July 1, 2005, and which provides a alegal framework for a system of transparent legal documents on competition.

In addition, many foreign and domestic officials agreed that the signing and implementation of the Vietnam-US bilateral tgrade agreement, issuance of the Competition Law and Vietnam’s final stage of talks for WTO membership illustrated the country’s dynamism.

Efforts of the trade ministry and relevant ministries and services to implement the law in daily life were also seen as indicators of Viet Nam’s strong commitment to create a healthy competitive environment.

At the seminar, Dinh My Loan, head of the trade ministry’s competition management department, revealed that the fvour guiding documents for implementation of the Competition Law have been completed and submitted to the Government for approval as early as September. She said this was the fastest time ever for legislation to be brought to life.

To serve enactment of the Competition Law, the competition management department, though established just more than a year ago, has launched various training courses for the staff in charge of the work, especially investigators, to enable them to work efficiently ina more competitive market place.

Officials from the Ministries of Trade, and Planning and Investment, while agreeing with the international guiests assessments, admitted that many shortcomings remained from the old economic regime. They stressed the need to create a sound business environment and to raise the national economy’s competitiveness. Businessmen should be helped to understand the meaning of competition as well as the differences between economic sectors, they .pointed out.

Deputy Trade Minister Le Dash Vinh said the country had witnessed a sharp increase in the number of businesses so far, with more than 1,70,000 in all economic sectors, stirring a bustling market place. However, notions of a competitive economy remained new to many. Vinh said, calling on the international community to grant assistance to Viet Nam to help it turn efforts in this field into practical outcomes.