Reforming Vietnam's Legal System to Support the Free Market

Presidential Palace, Hanoi, Vietnam

Beginning in September 2001, Jean-Paul Gauthier served the USAID Support for Trade Acceleration (STAR) Project as Senior Legal Advisor. The Project was designed to provide technical assistance to the government of Vietnam in the wake of the 1999 US-Vietnam Peace Treaty and Bilateral Trade and Investment Treaty that would help build Vietnam's capacity to meet its treaty obligations smoothly, as well as accede to the WTO. Jean-Paul assessed the business environment and trade policy laws and implementing agencies, proposed legislative regulatory and institutional reforms to bring Vietnam in line with its bilateral treaty obligations and WTO standards, and supervised the additional work of subcontracted local counsel (including Baker McKenzie LLP) in this connection.

With support from the Project, Vietnam amended or developed new laws affecting almost every area of commercial activity between 2002-2006. The reforms helped transform the legal system to support a market-oriented economy.

Jean-Paul served in this role until 2003 when he left to work with the World Bank. His work was conducted through The Services Group (TSG), which is now AECOM International.