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Vietnam forges new trade deals in Asian region

With the Trans-Pacific Partnership fizzling out, Vietnam is turning to its Asian neighbors for trade pacts. The country is looking to increase exports to markets in the ASEAN and some countries where it has bilateral trade agreements, such as Japan. It will look at ways to boost exports to the EU.

Vietnam has nine free trade agreements, including deals with India, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand. Seven more are being negotiated. The more free trade agreements Vietnam signs, the less it will have to rely on China and its Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership for the benefits of international commerce. Vietnam is more active than other countries in forging trade deals, and that allows it to diversify its risk. Because of its export-driven economy, Vietnam probably would have benefited from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade treaty more than any other nation. The TPP would have dramatically lowered or eliminated the tariffs the US imposes on Vietnamese goods. The US is the largest customer for the apparel, electronics, furniture, and shoes that Vietnam makes.

TPP was not only about market access. It was also a driving force for reform, for transparency and anti-corruption. Australia is interested in resurrecting some version of the TPP with Vietnam and other Asian countries.