Vietnam will slash tariffs imposed on nearly all farm produce and seafood for export to China from next year, according to the country's Finance Ministry on Thursday.
Under a tariff reduction list compiled by the ministry, Vietnamese goods exported to China with current tax rates of over 30-45 percent will bear a new rate of 20 percent, and those with tariffs of 15-30 percent are to enjoy a new rate of 10 percent from January 2004.
By 2008, Vietnam will lower tariffs imposed on 484 exports to China to zero percent to fulfill its full commitment to the Early Harvest Program (EHP), part of an agreement on comprehensive economic cooperation between China and the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
The ministry predicted that the EHP, once functional, would boost local exports to China. In 2001, Vietnam earned US$455.6 million from exporting farm produce and seafood listed on the EHP, accounting for 32 percent of the country's total export revenues to China.
Under the agreement signed in Cambodia in 2002 by China, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, the seven countries have pledged to slash tariffs from January 1, 2004 and finish the process by 2006.
Vietnam will begin the process in 2004, and complete it in 2008. Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar are to join the process in 2006.
(Xinhua News Agency November 27, 2003)