Vietnam (official name: the Socialist Republic of Vietnam) is the 8th most populous country in Asia, and the 13th most populous overall. More than a decade of average growth rates of roughly 7% starting in the early 2000s has made Vietnam one of the world’s premier emerging markets, although subsequent economic stumbles have tempered somewhat the early enthusiasm.
Customs import prohibitions: a number of products are currently banned for commercial importation into Vietnam, including cultural products deemed “depraved and reactionary,” certain children’s toys, second-hand consumer goods, used spare parts for vehicles, used internal combustion engines of less than 30 horsepower, and encryption devices and encryption software.
Although about 40% of Vietnam’ standards are harmonized with international or regional standards, the standards system in Vietnam can be fairly complex and not always transparent or clear. In some cases, products must comply with national standards, in other cases they must comply with the regulations of a relevant agency, and in still other cases they must comply with both.
Despite the lack of clarity, it does not appear that Vietnam is attempting to explicitly use technical standards as disguised barriers to trade.
The key agency for inquiries are standards related issues in Vietnam is the Directorate for Standards, Metrology and Quality (STAMEQ), which has become the central inquiry and notification point under the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade.
In 2007, Vietnam became the 150th member of the World Trade Organization. In addition to its WTO membership, Vietnam is party to a number of free trade agreements, either on a bilateral basis or by virtue of its membership in the Association Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN):
Vietnam is currently a full negotiating partner in the Trans Pacific Partnership, which includes the United States, Peru, Chile, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Mexico, and Japan. The objective of the TPP is to establish a high-standard, 21st century Asia-Pacific free trade agreement.