08:43 | 12/09/2017 MUTRAP Corner
At an EVFTA workshop held in Brussels on September 7, EU’s chief negotiator Mauro Petriccione said the European Union (EU) wants to ratify the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) in 2018 and put it into force as soon as possible.
The event, held by the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (EuroCham) and the Confederation of European Business attracted nearly 100 participants, including representatives of EU and Vietnamese agencies and European business leaders in Vietnam.
Addressing the workshop, Vietnamese Ambassador to Belgium Vuong Thua Phong assessed European businesses’ support for the EVFTA as important, stressing that amid changes in the world, timing is crucial, so the parties need to make efforts to enforce the deal soon.
Meanwhile, EU’s chief negotiator Petriccione said FTAs will be a highlight in an upcoming message from European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
The early signing of FTAs between the EU and its partners is essential, he said, describing the EVFTA as a high-quality agreement and a pillar of the union’s trade strategy in Southeast Asia.
At the workshop, enterprises affirmed the importance of the agreement to win-win economic and trade cooperation. They agreed that the EVFTA will aid not only Vietnamese firms but also the companies and people of Europe.
Many speakers remarked that Vietnam, with a population of nearly 100 million and fast and stable economic growth, is an especially promising market. They also lauded the opportunities generated by the EVFTA.
A member of the EuroCham Executive Committee, Jean-Jacques Bouflet noted the improvement in Vietnam’s investment climate, adding that investment-related legal reforms and administrative procedure simplification have created a better business environment.
EuroCham supports Vietnam’s willingness in administrative procedure modernisation to facilitate investment attraction. Once enforced, the EVFTA will become an effective tool to protect EU and Vietnamese firms when they do business in each other’s markets, he said.
Alann Bouvot, CEO of Sodex Sport Vietnam, said he had witnessed improvements in the local investment climate after 26 years investing in the country’s Nha Trang city, saying that Vietnam has a stable political situation and investors can easily talk with local authorities. Sodex invested in a new production facility in 2017, which showed his firm’s belief in a promising future in Vietnam, he noted.
Alann Bouvot said the EVFTA, aside from slashing tariffs, will also bring about other benefits in terms of the environment, administrative procedure improvement, and facilitation of export-import companies.
EU enterprises are eager for the harmonisation of Vietnam’s procedures with European criteria, adding that he hopes the EVFTA will be ratified and take effect soon.
Director of the Department of Foreign Affairs of Localities under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Hoang Long said the workshop was very successful and attracted special attention from European businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises. According to Long, EU businesses expect the FTA will be a special support tool for them. The agreement plays an important role in attracting European businesses to come to Vietnam.
European officials give great support to the EVFTA, partly because of the success of those EU businesses in Vietnam. Director Nguyen Hoang Long hopes that in the coming time with various exchanges at different levels, the EVFTA will soon be ratified and come into operation, meeting the aspirations and interests of both parties.