Remarks by Todd Hamner, USAID's Economic Growth Office Director, at the 'Negotiating and Signing FTAs - Experience and Reality' Workshop

Thursday, August 30, 2012
USAID/STAR Plus Workshop in support of national assemblies understanding of the Trans-Pacific partnership negotiations.
USAID/STAR Plus Workshop in support of national assemblies understanding of the Trans-Pacific partnership negotiations.

VINH PHUC, Vietnam -- USAID is pleased to sponsor this set of two workshops this week to give Vietnam National Assembly members and staff the chance to hear first-hand reports from Vietnam's trade negotiators on the progress of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, and to hear from experts in law, economics, and business as they share their insights on the challenges and opportunities that the TPP represents for Vietnam.

This week's workshops build on a similar USAID supported engagement with the National Assembly on TPP back in April of this year with former U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab. Today's event will provide participants an opportunity to participate in more detailed discussions about the TPP with both national and international trade experts.

When the leaders of the nine TPP negotiating countries met in Hawaii in November 2011, they agreed that the TPP Free Trade Agreement would be a "comprehensive, next-generation regional agreement that liberalizes trade and investment and addresses new and traditional trade issues and 21st-century challenges."

The TPP leaders also stated that they were confident that a successful TPP FTA would result in forging close linkages among our economies, enhancing our competitiveness, benefitting our consumers and supporting the creation and retention of jobs, higher living standards, and the reduction of poverty in our countries.

We have a saying in English that "the devil is in the details." I'm not sure how well this translates into Vietnamese, but it is certainly true for trade agreements. The final text of the TPP including the tariff and services schedules will be thousands of pages long. The National Assembly, the U.S. Congress and the legislatures of all TPP Members will be called upon to approve the FTA and to make any necessary amendments to national legislation.

We hope that our discussions over these two days will prove to be useful input In support of the National Assembly's role in the TPP FTA process. While we will not have time to get into all of the complex details related to FTAs, we have set aside a good amount of time for you to ask questions of the experts -- we encourage you to ask any questions that you may have. USAID looks forward to future opportunities to continue tosupport the National Assembly in its important role in Vietnam's economic governance and global integration.

Xin Cam On.

Issuing Country 

Last updated: December 30, 2015

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