USAID and Ministry of Justice Partnership Promotes Economic Integration

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HANOI, August 26, 2013 — Vietnam’s Ministry of Justice (MOJ) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) took stock of results today at the close of a three-year project that helped 19 government ministries and agencies implement trade-related legislation, build capacity for trade liberalization and governance, and further economic integration.

Launched in 2010, USAID’s Support for Trade Acceleration Project (USAID STAR Plus) supported Vietnam in its steps toward economic integration. It engaged in areas related to preparation for and implementation of trade agreements, customs modernization, facilitation of agricultural trade, and legal transparency. This translated into projects and outreach events to help the National Assembly and the private sector in Vietnam better understand the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), developing an annual survey with customs officials to solicit feedback from the private sector on their services, providing technical input to develop new food safety regulations, and piloting innovative software to help the State Bank of Vietnam systematize its regulations.

“I am very happy to see the tangible results of the cooperation of Vietnam counterparts and USAID during the project implementation over the last three years,” said Vice Minister of Justice Le Hong Son. “The technical program plays a positive role in developing the rule of law, improving transparency in the business environment consistent with World Trade Organization (WTO) and international best practices, creating a healthy competitive environment to enable investors of all economic sectors to compete successfully and take advantage of the opportunities resulting from trade liberalization.”

Vice Minister Son added that a large number of officials and public servants benefited from training courses, workshops, research and study missions, and the skills and knowledge acquired from these programs will have a long term, positive impact.

“Our work through USAID STAR Plus and previous economic growth programs dating back to 2001 represent a growing partnership between the United States and Vietnam to build a rule-based trading system consistent with the WTO and BTA,” said U.S. Embassy Charge d’Affaires Claire Pierangelo at a project closing ceremony in Hanoi. “These efforts contributed to developing the rule of law, governance, and economic relations between the two countries.”

Trade acceleration has been a key feature in the relationship between the United States and Vietnam, with bilateral trade growing from $1.5 billion in 2001 to close to $25 billion in 2012. This trade expansion is partly due to extensive trade liberalization under the BTA and WTO, which benefited from technical assistance of USAID STAR Plus and its predecessors, USAID STAR I and II. USAID STAR Plus technical assistance helped traders, investors and intellectual property rights holders to grow their businesses locally and internationally.

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