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Membership in WTO gives boost to Vietnam's economy

HO CHI MINH CITY -- Vietnam has made great strides in all aspects of its economy in the five years since it became a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), experts told a conference in Ho Chi Minh City last week.

More than 200 economists, policymakers, and business executives attended the conference titled “Five years after joining WTO — integration and development of Vietnamese enterprises” organized by the Communist Party of Vietnam online newspaper and Industry and Trade newspaper.

After the country acceded to the WTO in 2007, foreign direct investments have risen dramatically as have exports.

The country's exports have virtually doubled in the period to US$96.3 billion.

Distribution and retail services have also developed strongly, with the opening of hundreds of convenience stores changing the complexion of the country's retail sector and buying habits of Vietnamese consumers.

Former deputy prime minister Vu Khoan said the WTO membership enabled local companies to enjoy lower import tariffs on machinery, equipment and feedstock, which helps cut production costs and improve their competitiveness.

Opening up of distribution has been an important step in the country's integration into the global economy.

The attendees agreed that the penetration of foreign goods had brought great competitive pressure on local products, but on the other hand consumers could choose from a variety of high-quality products and services at competitive prices.

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