Asian exporters baffled by FTAs

By Bao Van, Thanh Nien News

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Complexity of agreement terms is the main reason for enterprises not using FTAs (Photo: Diep Duc Minh) Complexity of agreement terms is the main reason for enterprises not using FTAs (Photo: Diep Duc Minh)

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Up to 52 percent of respondents in Vietnam told HSBC that the complexity of a number of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) have baffled them.

The findings were reported during HSBC's first quarter survey of senior executives from 800 companies in Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam -- 100 from each country.

Eighty percent of the respondents worked at enterprises that earned annual revenues of US$50-100 million, while 20 percent reported revenues in excess of US$150 million. Respondent companies operate across a range of sectors.

The survey revealed that only 26 percent of exporters on average utilize FTAs in Asia. 
Vietnam ranked among the top-3 countries in the region for FTA usage. Each FTA signed by the country was used by 37 percent of respondents.

Meanwhile, up to 44 percent of respondents in Asia have limited or no understanding of one or more FTA signed by their country, according to the survey conducted by HSBC's Economist Intelligence Unit.

However, 86 percent of responding firms reported that their exports have increased as a result of the FTAs they use. In Vietnam, 80 percent of respondents said the FTAs they use have improved trade facilitation and created new investment opportunities.

As such, 78 percent of respondents in Asia want their governments to sign more FTAs.

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