Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) Vietnam may join the World Trade Organisation before the next conference of APEC (Association for
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, which includes giants like the US, China, Japan and South Korea). The upcoming conference will be held in Hanoi on 18 and 19 November 2006. "Joining the WTO is one of the targets of the government," said Vietnam's deputy Prime Minister, Vu Khoan. "At the moment, our joining depends solely on the WTO. We hope to enter before the summit conference of APEC."
So far, only two APEC members have not reached a bilateral agreement for Vietnam's admission. Vu Khoan said the fact that negotiations were under way was in itself positive.
Phuoc Minh Hiep, Economics Professor of Ho Chi Minh City Open University, said the most significant challenge was to make Vietnamese people understand the workings of the new globalized economy: "Raising awareness among people, farmers, and factories to understand globalization, the market economy and WTO activities, is very important and necessary if we want to help people overcome poverty in time. It is the key to helping people overcome poverty."
In fact, private and state firms in the country do not understand the phenomenon of globalization. "We have employed migrant workers for very low wages to make the business viable," the owner of a private firm told AsiaNews. And one farmer in Daklak Province said: "We sell coffee very cheaply and we are unable to pay our debts."
The upcoming APEC summit will include more than 100 meetings, with more than 100,000 participants. Vietnam is working on a series of measures to assure tight security and prevent terrorist acts.