Promising Vietnam-Austria trade ties, circular economy cooperation

06:00 | 26/10/2021 Cooperation

(VEN) - Vietnamese-Austrian economic, trade and investment relations have reached encouraging achievements despite the Covid-19 pandemic. Vietnam has become a reliable and important partner of Austria in Southeast Asia, and the two countries have much potential to develop bilateral trade and economic cooperation.

In 2020, bilateral trade hit US$3.2 billion - 13 times more than in 2010 and particularly impressive in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. Austria continues to be a top-10 European importer of Vietnamese goods. Austria has 37 investment projects totaling US$150 million in capital in Vietnam, mainly in the fields of manufacturing and processing, and science and technology. According to the Government of Vietnam, although they have been growing well, bilateral trade and economic relations remain incommensurate with the potential.

promising vietnam austria trade ties circular economy cooperation
promising vietnam austria trade ties circular economy cooperation
Farm produce and seafood are among key Vietnamese exports to the EU in general and Austria in particular

Vietnam proposed an exchange of information about investment policies, especially in priority areas for bilateral cooperation, such as clean energy, infrastructure, telecommunications, digital economy, and biotechnology application. Vietnamese and Austrian authorities should encourage bilateral trade and investment flows based on mutual benefits, and strengthen exchanges of business delegations for market surveys, investment opportunity research and business connections.

The EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) has been in effect for over one year, while the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA) has been ratified by the Vietnamese National Assembly and the European Parliament. However, the EVIPA aims to protect investors in the EU and Vietnam though it requires approval from EU members, and only six of the 27 European countries, including Austria, have officially ratified the EVIPA.

Seeking Austrian help

During recent phone talks with Chancellor of Austria Sebastian Kurz, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh said Vietnam hopes to further deepen the close ties with Austria in all fields. He proposed that the Austrian government soon accomplish the EVIPA ratification procedures and continue to create favorable conditions for Vietnamese farm produce and seafood exports especially seasonal fruit, coffee, pepper and cashew exports to Austria, as well as urge the European Commission (EC) to soon remove the illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) yellow card for Vietnamese seafood.

Vietnam is expected to help Austria access the 650-million-people ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) market and the potential 800-million-people CPTPP (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) market. In order to create the best conditions for Austrian investors, the Government of Vietnam has committed to creating the best business environment in compliance with the standards of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) by maintaining socio-political and macroeconomic stability, solving the problems related to administrative red tape, infrastructure and human resources, developing supply chains, reducing transaction costs, and building a stable policy-based environment.

The Embassy of Vietnam recently collaborated with Minh Tien Group to introduce a circular economy model in Vietnam in order to promote sustainable agriculture, prevent climate change damage, and reduce waste - especially plastic debris. The circular economic principles implemented by Minh Tien are regarded as breakthrough developments of the Vietnamese coffee industry by fully utilizing products from coffee trees to produce environmentally friendly products such as clean tea and food containers, among others, while materials that cannot be recycled will be converted into biological fertilizers for use in coffee farms.

Vietnamese Ambassador to Austria Nguyen Trung Kien said the model’s introduction in Austria showed the world a modern, sustainable agriculture and is considered by many international organizations in Austria as the mainstay of their activities. It is expected to open up many development opportunities for Vietnamese-Austrian trade, economic cooperation.

Vietnam and Austria are looking forward to celebrating their 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties in 2022. Both sides have agreed to resume the exchange of delegations and high-level meetings soon, while reinforcing cooperation mechanisms, including the Vietnam-Austria Joint Committee on Economic and Investment Cooperation.

Hoa Quynh