USA presses Vietnam on tough TPP rules for SOEs as template for 'state capitalist' partners

Deputy USA Trade Representative, Demetrios Marantis, says he has received an encouraging response from Vietnamese officials after urging them to undo a number of trade-restrictive policies aimed at curbing inflation and reducing their country's current account deficit.

The talks were separate from the broader negotiations on the USA's proposed Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) pact which will include the USA, Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Chile and Peru, he emphasised to  Reuters news agency in an interview

However Mr Marantis said he warned Vietnam the USA would be pressing in the TPP pact for tough rules on "state-owned enterprises" (SOEs) that account for a large share of the country's economy.

US business groups reportedly want trailblazing language on SOEs in the agreement because of the potential for the TPP to evolve into an APEC-wide agreement covering China and other countries in the region that practice "state capitalism".

The Americans' goal is to have the "broad outlines" of the deal completed by November, when President Barack Obama hosts 20 other regional leaders in Honolulu for the annual summit of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).

TPP countries Vietnam, Singapore, Brunei and Malaysia are also members of the 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) with which the USA is working on a number of trade issues as a whole in areas ranging from cloud computing to health care to trade facilitation, Mr Marantis said.

Bilaterally, the United States and Philippines are in talks on trade facilitation agreement to speed the flow of goods across their borders, which would be the first such pact between the United States and an ASEAN country, he said.