Vietnam to approve TPP this year, but all efforts may be in vain

By    July 5, 2016 | 02:52 am PT
Vietnam could be among the few countries to make progress in ratifying the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, one of the world’s biggest ever multinational trade pacts, could be put in front of Vietnamese lawmakers for ratification by the end of this year, Vietnam News Agency cited Ngo Duc Manh, deputy head of the National Assembly's External Relations Committee, as saying.

Although the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was signed by 12 member nations in February this year, the trade pact still requires a tough two-year ratification period before it becomes a reality.

When the TPP takes effect, it will create a free-trade zone covering 40 percent of the global economy.

For the trade pact to take effect, at least six countries that account for 85 percent of the combined gross domestic production of the 12 TPP members must approve the signed agreement.

The 12 nations are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.

New Zealand’s parliament narrowly voted 62-59 for the pact in May, with two more rounds of voting before the ratification process there is complete.

Australian lawmakers have halted all proceedings ahead of the general election.

Mexico and Peru have made no noticeable moves.

Malaysia has already ratified the TPP and Brunei requires no parliamentary approval to enact the deal.

Given their size, both the United States and Japan would need to ratify the deal. If the two countries don't ratify the trade pact, then all bets are off.

“The U.S. is the largest economy among the 12 TPP member countries. Without the approval of the U.S. Congress, the trade accord won’t come into effect even if it is ratified by all the other countries,” said Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh at a workshop on how Vietnam can seize opportunities from new-generation free trade agreements.

However, it remains unclear whether U.S. legislators will sign on to the TPP.

President Barack Obama said he was optimistic that Congress would pass the proposed trade agreement this year.

Unfortunately, TPP signatories cannot count on President Obama being able to guide the TPP to ratification before he leaves office in January next year.

If President Barack Obama’s administration fails to ratify the trade pact, the fate of the TPP will be in the hands of whoever succeeds him as president.

And the problem is that all U.S. presidential candidates are taking a harsher tone on the TPP, even turning their backs on the deal.

Related News:

>Vietnam to ratify TPP trade deal by August 9

>Vietnam the biggest beneficiary if Obama can pass TPP

>Vietnam to shake up supporting industries to seize TPP opportunities

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