Sovereignty is sovereignty, business is business. If we develop strongly, our sovereignty is firm. VietNamNet continues the talks about the trade relations between Vietnam and China.
Vietnam does not know about China?
A check point of goods imported and exported via the Vietnam-China border in Lang Son. (photo: Dan Tri).
Dr. Nguyen Thi Dung, Vice Chair of the Foreign Economics Faculty of the University of Foreign Trade, an expert of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JAICA), said:
Trade relations between the two countries are inevitable. We and China are members of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The question is not should we have trade relations with them or not because of the great loss in that relations but how the relationships are.
We suffer losses in the relations with them because we do not thoroughly understand the spirit "have both feet on the ground.” We do not know much about them and yet even about ourselves so we get lost. We are standing on the weak, very weak position.
VietNamNet: Even the US suffers trade deficit with China. Does the US also lose like Vietnam?
Dr. Dung: This is a completely different matter! China with the US and China with Vietnam are totally different.
The U.S. researchers are skeptical whether the U.S. economy belongs to the U.S. or to China. In other words, the U.S. economy is highly internationalized, in which the role of China is major. However, this game is not over yet so we do not know the winner. The first who laughs is not the winner.
So, the U.S. trade deficit with China cannot be seen so bad to America!
VietNamNet: How about Vietnam's trade deficit with China?
Dr. Dung: We sell all raw goods to China, which does not make sense to raise the level of production, science and technology. Our import from China is full of technology transfer which is obsolete. These technologies were transferred for them by the U.S. and the West in the 20th century and now they should have been sold as waste.
Ms. Vu Kim Hanh, Chair of the Association of High Quality Businesses, Director of the Business Research and Enterprise Support Center, said:
Doing business with China is probably the most difficult because of many things that I do not know how to describe, because I find it difficult everywhere. In my opinion we must have the spirit of attack and, more importantly, to know how to play because if we only attack without knowing what to attack, we will take only failure.
First of all, we must have information on all things in doing business with China. But this is uneasy in a less transparent environment of China. If they post some information in Chinese on the Internet, not many Vietnamese people can read it. Secondly, they may not want to publish information in international languages to make information non-transparent and untimely.
But I think more importantly, China is a global economic power. All tactical intentions, their strategies with the world, with the region and with Vietnam change very quickly while we do not have enough information about them.
The power of China is rising strongly. They are to compete with the US. China's economy is closely linked with politics.
VietNamNet: With a growing China, Vietnam has not had policies to not be pinched?
Ms. Hanh: It's hard to be sympathetic when the Chinese went to Vietnam for traveling but they went to Ca Mau to buy crabs for export, or Chinese traders traveled everywhere in Vietnam to buy agricultural products, but they were not controlled.
I find it unusual that many local authorities and competent agencies said that they feel embarrassed by "touching" the WTO or something. In fact, the WTO does not allow such weird business.
In Thailand, if the Chinese do business that way, they will be arrested immediately. Simply because those who do business must register and pay tax. That’s the rule of all countries and also the WTO.
Consultant Moc Que, Deputy Director of the Micarcen Research and Consultancy Center:
This is "the game" of too large asymmetry. I do not talk about economic scale between the two countries but only emphasize the method of each side.
China has short-term and long-term strategies with Vietnam. They hold Vietnam in the palm of their hand. Vietnam does not know anything about the Chinese market. They just know it's a huge market. Vietnamese businesses do business with Chinese partners in the way “everyone doing for themselves” so they are split by Chinese enterprises to block.
We do not have an export strategy to China. We only have border customers and long distance trade.
If a truck of Vietnamese agricultural products goes to China, it will return to Vietnam with a ten of other trucks full of Chinese goods. Sometimes when China played a dirty trick on Vietnamese businesses, tens of thousands of Vietnamese container trucks were stuck at the border gates. We are killing ourselves by this way of doing business!
VietNamNet: Getting too many bitter fruits from trade relations with China, plus the tension on the East Sea caused by China, the attitude of "hate" against China has appeared. Does this go against the economic principle of “efficiency is the first" because China is a huge market that any developed country wants to enter?
Ms. Hanh: This problem has two aspects. It is true with the frustration of China’s provoking acts in the East Sea but in terms of economics we still have to play with them. We are very close to them we cannot take our country to somewhere else. Moreover, many countries that are far from them are fascinated with this huge market.
Ms. Moc Que: We have to be of sound mind and be clear. Sovereignty is sovereignty, business is business. If we develop strongly, our sovereignty is firm.
To be continued