By: Dezan Shira & Associates
Editor: Aysha Nesbitt
Vietnam is on its way to being the largest beneficiary of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The agreement will produce greater access to foreign markets and foreign direct investment for Vietnam through the reduction of 18,000 tariff lines on industrial and agricultural products. However, in order to gain access to these reductions, Vietnam is expected to comply with labor standards outlined in the agreement as well as specific commitments made under the US-VN Plan for Enhancement of Trade and Labor Relations.
TPP Labor Standards
A predictable portion of the TPP’s labor standards require Vietnam to abolish forced or compulsory labor, including child labor. The country must also actively discourage the importation of goods from sources where products are in whole or partially produced by forced labor. In order to ensure this policy is strictly followed, Vietnam will be required to establish a labor council of government representatives who will monitor the implementation of the labor reforms.
Once the TPP comes to fruition, the council will be responsible for reviewing and accessing the reforms at the end of the first year and every two following. Other reforms that Vietnam must establish are acceptable conditions of work pertaining to minimum wage, hours of work, as well as safety and health conditions. Each province in Vietnam will be responsible for implementing, regulating, and maintaining these reforms to the satisfactory degree.