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Vietnam_Flag_0An article in the Asian Times by US-based economist Anh Le Tran has highlighted the extent to which Vietnam's free trade obligations have aggravated its widening trade deficit (12.8% of GDP in 2008). Le Tran argues the situation is exacerbated by a lack of supporting industries to allow it to extract greater benefits from its current exports (primarily garment and footwear, currently very reliant on imported raw materials), as well as an affluent middle class with a healthy appetite for imported goods. As a result, Vietnam's scope for macroeconomic maneuvering to contain inflation has been very limited. A TPP agreement may limit this further: note the USTR report on Vietnam's trade barriers for 2010, which expresses concern about a draft regulation issued late last year to establish a price registration and stablisation regime over a broad range of goods and services.

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australian flagMARCH 15, 2010: Barack Obama is due to meet with his Australian counterpart, Kevin Rudd, on March 26. The whirlwind stop in Canberra is likely to cover the by-then complete negotiation rounds in Melbourne for the TPP agreement. While Obama is quick to hail the 'model alliance' between the US and Australia, serious doubts are rising in Rudd's capital about the lack of consultation and analysis going ahead into the negotiations, as an excellently-argued  Canberra Times op-ed by Professor Thomas Faunce expresses today...

 

 

 

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