Vietnam becomes 150th member of the World Trade Organization

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Wednesday, November 8, 2006

World Trade Organization (WTO) has officially invited Vietnam to become a member of their organization. Vietnam is the 150th nation to join the WTO.

Now that the country has joined the WTO, Vietnam will have more access to overseas markets, but will be forced to cut high import tariffs, thus reducing the budget by as much as 21%.

Vietnam has proclaimed its intention to leave the ranks of the world's poorest countries by 2010, and will become a WTO member 30 days after official approval from its National Assembly.

Joining the WTO will force a reduction in import duties, within five to seven years, from their current average rate of 17.6% to 13.8%. It will also eliminate any import quotas WTO countries have against Vietnamese textiles, rice and coffee. Vietnam's banks, insurers and telecommunications companies, however, will have to face competition from foreign interests, and restrictions on foreign ownership of Vietnamese firms will be eliminated.

"Foreign competition is bitter medicine for Vietnamese enterprises, but it will help them become stronger," said Le Dang Doanh, an economist at the ministry of planning and investment.