Vietnam says proposal on prices adheres to WTO

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A draft proposal on pricing in Vietnam does not contradict the country’s World Trade Organization (WTO) commitments, the government said after foreign firms raised fears of price controls.

“The draft of this circular is not in contradiction to the pricing ordinance in 2002 as well as Vietnam’s commitments to the WTO,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Nguyen Phuong Nga said in comments received late Thursday.

The 2002 ordinance said the state respects the right to self-pricing and price competition, she said.

Earlier this month, United States ambassador Michael Michalak said the US was concerned about the Vietnamese proposal.

He said the American Chamber of Commerce as well as other foreign and local business groups were also concerned and in discussions with Vietnamese authorities.

“I hope that we’ll be able to come to a satisfactory conclusion,” he said.

According to the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam, the draft would impose price controls on a variety of products including petrol, gas, steel and cement. It would apply to foreign as well as local private enterprises, in contrast to a current regulation that affects only state-owned firms, the chamber said.

The WTO, which Vietnam joined three years ago, is the only global international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations.

Nga said the Ministry of Finance draft, which is open for public comments, aimed to help authorities stabilize prices “to protect the benefits of businesses and consumers.”

Source: AFP

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