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Vietnam's membership of the WTO: an analysis of the transformation of a socialist economy into an open economy with special reference to the TRIPS regime and the patent law

Tran, Thi Lan Anh (2009) Vietnam's membership of the WTO: an analysis of the transformation of a socialist economy into an open economy with special reference to the TRIPS regime and the patent law. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

This study is designed to examine Vietnam's attempts to reform its economic and legal system in order to accelerate its economic development and the challenges it is facing as a result of its membership of the WTO. The thesis revolves around the following central research question: How has the Vietnamese legal system responded to the challenges brought about by modernisation driven by this country's membership of the WTO and what improvements are needed in its legal system to ensure that this agenda of modernisation is reconciled with the needs of its people as well as with the demands of the international trade and the intellectual property protection agenda. After a long period of negotiations Vietnam became the 150th WTO member on 11th January 2007. Like China, Vietnam has also been pursuing a policy of economic liberalization since 1986 while maintaining a socialist political system. On the road to economic development and prosperity for the people, Vietnam accepted many new obligations resulting from its WTO membership. Consequently, the country is now going through a period of breathtaking changes not only in transforming the economy but also all aspects of its legal system. By joining the WTO, Vietnam represents a unique case of an attempt to reform a centrally planned economy in order to transform itself into a system which was supposed to be compliant with the multi-lateral trading system led by the WTO, and based on the values of capitalism. The economic and legal transformation that Vietnam is going through as a result of membership to the WTO, and the nature and scope of obligations that Vietnam was required to undertake to become a member of this world trade body, makes a fascinating case for study. While still maintaining a single party political system, a huge transformation has been carried out in the legal framework of Vietnam in the past 20 to 25 years to bring the Vietnamese legal system up to the international legal standards expected by foreign trades and investors interested in doing business with and in Vietnam. Vietnam has finished its first few years with the WTO "machine" in operation and this country is now trying to progress with the same speed as with other WTO members. In order to deal with the challenges and to gain from the opportunities arising from its WTO membership appropriately, Vietnam is launching plenty of new initiatives in socio-economic policies and in the national legal system as well. However, the country is still facing many challenges concerning the integration of the main principles of international trade and economic law into a socialist legal system. It is in this context that this thesis examines the process of reform, its weaknesses and strengths, the merits and demerits of Vietnam's membership of the WTO with particular reference to the obligations arising from the international intellectual property regime, and proposes a set of recommendations designed to better equip Vietnam to deal with the challenges ahead. The focus is on the strengths and weaknesses of various reform programmes undertaken by the country and the lacunae that still exist in its legal system.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law (Leeds) > School of Law (Leeds)
Depositing User: Ethos Import
Date Deposited: 08 Aug 2012 12:32
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2014 11:21
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/2688

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