New trade treaty offers hope for Vietnam-France business cooperation

06:00 | 31/07/2020 Cooperation

(VEN) - The EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) will take effect on August 1, 2020, creating opportunities for French businesses to cooperate with Vietnamese partners in sectors where they have advantages, such as energy, agriculture, support industries and food processing.

new trade treaty offers hope for vietnam france business cooperation

Facilitating economic cooperation

At a recent online workshop held to discuss the EVFTA opportunities for French businesses, Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh emphasized that Vietnam and EU member countries, especially France, had promoted economic, trade and investment cooperation, believing that it’s time for businesses to make the most of their advantages to boost cooperation for mutual development.

France is one of Vietnam’s major economic partners in Europe, ranking third in export and second in investment. Francois Delattre, Secretary General of the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, said that once the EVFTA takes effect, Vietnam will be one of the EU’s prioritized partners in Asia. France and the EU are willing to deepen and broaden their trade and investment ties with Vietnam, Delattre added.

According to Nguyen Thao Hien, Deputy Director of the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade’s European-American Market Department, potential areas of Vietnam-France cooperation include industry and high technology; support industries and food processing. Although Vietnam is the world’s second largest textile and garment exporter, its key exports to the EU, such as coffee, cashew and pepper, remain in their unprocessed form.

Jean-Philippe Arvert, Commercial Attache at the French Embassy in Vietnam and Director for the Zone of ASEAN-Oceania at Business France, said Vietnam is developing many power projects, a field in which French firms have an advantage. The two sides can also promote investment and business cooperation in wastewater treatment, marine transportation, urban construction and industrial zone infrastructure, he said.

new trade treaty offers hope for vietnam france business cooperation

Creating favorable conditions

European businesses tend to build strategic partnerships with local enterprises to establish new production and supply chains in order to take advantage of the EVFTA and the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA).

This means there will be plenty of opportunities for Vietnamese companies to be involved in global value chains through cooperation with European partners. Apart from opportunities, the two countries are facing challenges emerging from trade conflicts and rising protectionism in some countries, and especially the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic that has disrupted value chains and changed the business climate as well as trade conditions. This context requires Vietnamese businesses to change their thinking and production mode in order to meet the EU market’s quality requirements and keep pace with its development.

To take advantage of the EVFTA, Minister Tran Tuan Anh said Vietnam should continue expanding cooperation with France in energy, especially clean and renewable energy; high technology, agriculture, processing and manufacturing - areas where France has advantages. He affirmed that Vietnam would create favorable conditions in terms of investment and business environment as well as infrastructure for French companies to invest in Vietnam in support industries for the textile, garment, leather, footwear and automobile sectors, and food processing.

“Hopefully, there will be more success stories like Marou - the best chocolate in the world, which is a combination of specialty of materials, the skills of Vietnamese workers and a good business idea, technology and management and market development experience of the French,” Minister Tran Tuan Anh said.

In the first five months of 2020, trade between Vietnam and France reached US$1.77 billion, down 18.66 percent compared with the same period last year. Bilateral trade is forecast to resume its growth later this year when France revs up its economy.

Phuong Huong