Vietnam cements climate commitments, ties with European partners

06:00 | 25/11/2021 Cooperation

(VEN) - Vietnam made strong commitments to combat climate change and promoted and expanded strategic relations with the UK and France during a recently completed European trip by Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and a high-ranking Vietnamese delegation.

vietnam cements climate commitments ties with european partners
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh (middle) and high-ranking officials attend the handover ceremony of the cooperation contract between Vietjet Air and Rolls-Royce (Photo: VNA)
vietnam cements climate commitments ties with european partners
Talks between Vietnamese and French high-ranking officials (Photo: VGP)

The UK, a major FTA partner

The working visit to the UK took place in the context of the recently enacted UK-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA), opening many opportunities for bilateral trade and investment. For the UK, Vietnam is a gateway to increased cooperation with the 10-nation ASEAN bloc. For Vietnam, the UK provides an opportunity for wider export access and British investment.

Along with trade promotion, Vietnam and the UK are also cooperating in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. The UK Government has provided Vietnam with 415,000 AstraZeneca vaccine doses and continues promoting medical cooperation, focusing on the provision of vaccines and medical equipment. The UK is also considering the transfer of Covid-19 vaccine production technology and the supply of Covid-19 treatment medicines to Vietnam.

The UK is also willing to assist Vietnam in shifting to clean energy and accessing green financial resources to develop renewable energy projects. At the same time, the UK continues to help Vietnam develop high-quality human resources, increase scholarships for Vietnamese students and promote cooperation in research, teaching and digital transformation in education.

During his visit, PM Pham Minh Chinh met with members of the 100,000-strong Vietnamese community in the UK and appealed for their financial and knowledge contributions to the homeland. The two countries achieved 26 cooperation agreements in various fields of mutual interest, including carbon emission mitigation, education, human resource training, investment, and support for Vietnamese startups. Vietjet Air signed a US$400-million contract with Rolls-Royce for aircraft engines and engine services for its wide-body fleet. Deals worth billions of US dollars were signed in other fields such as research and education, finance, banking, climate change, energy efficiency, training and capacity building.

The Vietnamese delegation also met with the leaders of multinational groups and representatives of British universities in Edinburgh. PM Pham Minh Chinh affirmed Vietnam’s efforts to improve the investment environment in order to attract more private capital in fields crucial for national economic growth. British universities expressed their support for Vietnam in developing the pharmaceutical industry and basic health infrastructure and praised its efforts to fight the pandemic as well as its tax incentives for foreign investors.

vietnam cements climate commitments ties with european partners
In the framework of PM Pham Minh Chinh’s visit to France, Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien (third from left) opened the Vietnamese Consumer Goods Week event at the Carrefour Supermarket system (Photo: VNA)

Major French export market

During his official visit to the French Republic, PM Pham Minh Chinh spoke with his French counterpart Jean Castex in the Matignon Palace and praised the cooperation and mutual support between the two countries. PM Castex promised to provide Vietnam with an additional 970,000 Covid-19 vaccine doses through the COVAX mechanism and 400,000 doses via bilateral channels.

The visit took place in the context of the 50th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations to be celebrated in 2023. Leaders of the two countries have reached a consensus on plans to bring bilateral relations to a new high and expand cooperation in all fields, tighten coordination in dealing with regional and international issues, and strengthen mutual support in multilateral forums.

The two sides agreed to implement practical measures to further facilitate bilateral trade and create favorable conditions for businesses and goods to penetrate each other’s markets.

France is the second largest export market for Vietnamese fruit and vegetables in the EU, behind the Netherlands. France is Vietnam’s fourth largest export market in the EU-27, behind the Netherlands, Germany and Austria, and accounts for about 10 percent of Vietnam’s total export value to the EU. However, Vietnamese goods still account for a mere 1.1 percent of France’s total import value.

Despite Covid-19-induced difficulties, Vietnam has taken advantage of tariff cut commitments under the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) to promote exports to France. In early 2021, three groups of goods recorded export growth of more than 100 percent compared with the same time last year, including transport means and spare parts (222 percent); materials for textile, garment, leather and footwear production (160 percent); and rice (110 percent). The EVFTA has eliminated all tariffs on fruit, vegetable and fruit juice as soon as it took effect in August 2020, creating opportunities for Vietnam to boost the export of these products to France.

On the sidelines of COP26, the Vietnamese delegation conducted bilateral activities to promote Vietnam’s cooperation with international organizations and partner countries, strengthening its role and responsibility in dealing with global issues.

Duy Hung