HCMC gears up to take advantage of EVFTA

06:00 | 28/11/2020 EVFTA

(VEN) - Ho Chi Minh City will implement a series of programs to improve business competitiveness in order to help local firms take advantage of opportunities provided by free trade agreements, especially the newly implemented EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).

hcmc gears up to take advantage of evfta

Strengthening cooperation

Nguyen Thanh Phong, chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee, met on October 30 with EU Ambassador Giorgio Aliberti and ambassadors of EU member states to discuss areas for cooperation and investment. Phong noted that 2020 not only marks the launch of the European Union’s ambitious trade pact with Vietnam but also the 30th anniversary of EU-Vietnam diplomatic ties. The trade deal that went into effect on August 1 is of strategic importance and is the most comprehensive and ambitious free trade deal the EU has made with a developing Asian country.

Ambassador Aliberti said the EVFTA is a crucial foundation for the development of trade and investment between the EU and Vietnam in general and the EU and Ho Chi Minh City in particular. The EU has provided support and shared experience with Ho Chi Minh City in the fields of finance, energy, climate change and urban transport and plans cooperation with the biggest Vietnamese city in numerous other fields.

Government data show that Ho Chi Minh City’s exports to the EU reached US$5 billion in 2019 and US$3.2 billion in the first nine months of this year, with the main items including footwear, garments, textiles, computers, electronic products and components, and coffee. Meanwhile, the city imported US$3.6 billion worth of goods from the EU market in 2019. The figure dropped by 30 percent to US$1.3 billion in the first nine months of this year, with pharmaceuticals, machinery, chemicals, fully-assembled cars, and dairy products being the top imports.

Luring high-quality investment

EU member countries are waiting for Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh City to create a more attractive, effective and transparent investment environment in order to optimize high-quality investments from Europe.

Nguyen Thanh Phong said the city would continue to drive investments towards high-tech sectors and added value services, and strengthen linkages with cities and provinces in the region to lure more potential EU investors.

The city will also devise mechanisms and policies to attract EU investors in waste and wastewater treatment, high-tech agriculture, education, and Ho Chi Minh City’s eastern highly interactive and innovative urban area.

With the four programs of management innovation, infrastructure development, human resource training, and creative startup promotion, Ho Chi Minh City will help businesses improve their competitiveness to take advantage of opportunities provided by free trade agreements, especially the EVFTA.

Luong Thanh Nghi, deputy chairman of the State Committee on Overseas Vietnamese Affairs under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said many Vietnamese exports have benefitted since the EVFTA took effect on August 1. With almost all tariff lines to be cut in the next 7-10 years, Vietnam’s exports to the EU are expected to thrive.

Ngoc Thao