Vietnam, Europe tighten trade, economic cooperation

08:31 | 04/06/2019 Cooperation

(VEN) - According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), Vietnam will carry out various activities in 2019 to increase economic cooperation with European partners in the spirit of partnership for development.

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Hoang Quoc Vuong (third from the left) and European ambassadors visit a booth at the Meeting with Partners from Europe 2019

Priority partner

In the 1990s, Vietnam’s trade with Europe was very modest, but since then, economic, trade and investment relations have expanded continuously. Currently, Vietnam has trade relations with more than 40 countries on the continent and trade between Vietnam and Europe has grown at a double-digit rate for years.

General Department of Vietnam Customs data show that in 2018, bilateral trade reached US$62.11 billion, including US$44.93 billion worth of Vietnamese exports to Europe, which accounted for 20 percent of Vietnam’s total export value. A surplus of US$27.75 billion in trade with Europe contributed to improving Vietnam’s trade balance.

European countries have invested nearly US$50 billion in Vietnam through 3,300 projects covering all sectors of the economy.

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Hoang Quoc Vuong affirmed that Europe is an important market and a prioritized cooperation partner in Vietnam’s external economic relations policy. The Vietnamese and European markets complement each other. Europe is a potential market for a variety of tropical agricultural products, textiles, garments, leather, footwear, wood products and telephones - areas where Vietnam has advantages. Meanwhile, Vietnam offers European businesses a gateway to the Southeast Asian market.

Garcia Ferrer, Trade Counselor of the EU Delegation, said Vietnam is an important partner. European companies will assist Vietnamese businesses in manufacturing machinery, equipment and automobiles - areas where Vietnam still lacks competitiveness. The EU imports materials from Vietnam, such as food and agricultural products, creating stable outlets for Vietnamese goods.

Trade agreements

Vietnam is enjoying the terms of its free trade agreement (FTA) with the Eurasian Economic Union, and has completed negotiations on an FTA with the EU, which will provide a favorable legal framework for trade exchanges.
“The EU already has FTAs with Japan and Singapore. In the next several months, Vietnam will be the third Asian country to have an FTA with the EU. Based on existing linkages between the two sides, the EU and Vietnam will strive their utmost to bring into play the potential of bilateral relations to achieve the best cooperation results,” said Ambassador Bruno Angelet, Head of the EU Delegation to Vietnam.

Vietnam has established 23 cooperation mechanisms with European countries, including intergovernmental committees, joint committees and bilateral policy consultation meetings. These mechanisms contribute to facilitating bilateral trade and investment, helping resolve problems facing businesses in a timely and effective manner.

In 2019, the MoIT will preside over or coordinate with other ministries to organize various events to strengthen the traditional friendship and increase economic cooperation between Vietnam and European countries, while at the same time improving Vietnam’s position in Europe. The Meeting with Partners from Europe 2019 that took place in Hanoi on March 4 was a MoIT initiative to connect Vietnamese and European entities involved in economic cooperation. The event also helped promote Vietnam’s image and introduce export products of Vietnamese companies.

The meeting attracted the support and participation of foreign embassies and diplomatic missions in Vietnam, as well as the business community.

In 2019, the governments of Vietnam and European countries, as well as businesses, are determined to make joint

efforts to boost economic cooperation between Vietnam and the EU in the spirit of partnership for development.

Tue Minh