The Union Cabinet is expected to take up the issue of granting market economy status to Vietnam soon, a move that will see the south east Asian nation joining the India-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement.

“ is under active consideration...The Cabinet is likely to take up the issue soon,” an official said.

Vietnam, a member of Association of South East Asian Nation (ASEAN) bloc, had not signed the free trade pact with India on August 13, in Thailand.

Recently, Vietnam’s Vice-president Nguyen Thi Doan, who had a meeting with External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna here, had indicated that her country’s joining the India-ASEAN trade pact would depend on New Delhi recognising Vietnam as a market economy.

China, Australia, Japan and New Zealand have already acknowledged Vietnam as a market economy.

In market economy, input and output prices are determined by market forces to make the process transparent.

The status would also help Vietnam become a member of the World Trade Organisation, besides getting other benefits like fighting anti-dumping cases, a trade expert said.

The other ASEAN members include Combodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore.

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