By Umesh Pandey
The Bangkok Post
July 8, 2007
Vietnam is gradually becoming a powerhouse in Southeast Asia and is likely to take a more active position in trade negotiations between various regions and the 10-member Asean grouping, a British diplomat says.”No longer will Vietnam be content to bump along with the Asean backwaters of Burma, Laos and Cambodia. Their sights are set on closing the gap between themselves and the Asean founding members,” Robert Gordon, the British ambassador to Vietnam, said at a recent luncheon talk in Bangkok.
“We can expect Vietnam to take what some would otherwise see as a surprisingly forward position on issues such as the new EU-Asean free trade agreement.”
Hanoi’s growing confidence has resulted in part from membership in the World Trade Organisation (WTO), making the country more attractive for investment at a time when Thailand is struggling to draw foreign capital.