Vietnamese legislators visit EU, cement relations

06:00 | 28/09/2021 EVFTA

(VEN) - National Assembly (NA) Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue led a high-ranking delegation to three European countries in early September.

vietnamese legislators visit eu cement relations
NA Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue speaks at the Vietnam-Belgium Business Roundtable

Effective implementation of trade deal

NA Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue’s trip to Europe contributed to consolidating and strengthening Vietnam’s foreign relations in general and the relationship between the Vietnamese NA and the parliaments of European Union (EU) countries in particular, promoting cooperation with the EU and member states.

During a meeting with President of the European Council (EC) Charles Michel in Brussels, NA Chairman Hue said the EU is a leading partner of Vietnam in terms of trade and investment. Slightly over a year since implementation of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), bilateral trade has increased by 18 percent despite a range of difficulties posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

NA Chairman Hue said Vietnam’s legislature had played an important role in the preparation, signing, ratification and implementation of the trade deal, and approved the revised Labor Code as well as the roadmap on joining fundamental conventions of the International Labor Organization (ILO). He also urged the parliaments of EU countries to quickly ratify the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA).

At the Vietnam-Belgium Business Roundtable, Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien discussed Vietnam’s first year implementation of the EVFTA, affirming the country’s determination to fully implement the trade deal’s commitments.

Dien said Belgium was Vietnam’s seventh largest trading partner in the EU, with bilateral trade growing at an average annual rate of 6.09 percent in the 2015-2019 period. Due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, bilateral trade dropped to US$2.78 billion in 2020. In the first seven months of 2021, this figure reached US$2.32 billion, an increase of 46.71 percent compared to a year ago.

vietnamese legislators visit eu cement relations
Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien receives representatives of European firms

Vietnam offers EU gateway to ASEAN

According to NA Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue, Vietnam advocates attracting foreign investment in a selective manner, focusing on quality, effectiveness, technology and environmental protection. The country prioritizes projects in high technology, innovation, research and development, and projects with spillover effects that create favorable conditions for Vietnamese enterprises to participate in the value chain, as well as those related to promoting the digital economy and contributing to the country’s sustainable socioeconomic development.

NA Chairman Hue also said Vietnam was committed to creating the best business environment to meet the standards of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Those include maintaining socio-political and macroeconomic stability, removing bottlenecks in institutions, infrastructure and human resources, developing supply chains, reducing transaction costs, especially logistics and administrative costs, and building a stable and highly predictable environment with transparent enforcement and accountability.

The EU and ASEAN have established a strategic partnership. EU investors are offered opportunities to access the Vietnamese market of nearly 100 million people, as well as the ASEAN market of nearly 650 million people and the Asian market of nearly five billion people. Vietnam is ready to serve as a gateway for the EU to ASEAN, NA Chairman Hue said.

As for the EU, the leaders pledged to support Vietnam in playing an increasingly important role in the region. According to Finnish Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari, Vietnam has been not only a priority partner but also a good friend of Finland over the past half century, with bilateral trade reaching about EUR5 billion.

Within the framework of the trip, Belgium and Slovakia provided Vietnam with 200,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccines and pledged to provide millions more. Many organizations, businesses and individuals have also provided the country with medical equipment worth more than VND1.028 trillion.

Quynh Nga