Vietnam’s WTO Accession: Implications for Economic Reform

Place: Vietnam • Dates: 2003-2004 • Partner: Danida 

Project Summary

Vietnam has announced its determination to join the WTO, and already begun implementing policies that will facilitate its eventual accession. These policies have far reaching implications for the country’s integration with global markets and, ultimately, for the pace and scope of domestic market-induced development. This paper summarizes a set of assessments of the long term economic effects of Vietnam’s WTO accession. Generally speaking, our results indicate that Vietnam would benefit from accelerating its participation in more open multilateralism. However, it is also clear from our analysis that these benefits will remain modest in the absence of comprehensive and complementary domestic economic reforms. Passive external liberalization, even when coupled with determined domestic reform, is inferior to WTO participation combined with negotiated market access and other activist multilateral agreements. Finally, our analysis shows that capital insufficiency is a very serious constraint on Vietnamese economic growth and diversification. Capital market reform can play an essential role in dynamic and sustained economic development for the country.

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