The Vietnamese Embassy in Belgium, in collaboration with the European Union (EU), the EU-Vietnam Friendship Parliamentians' Group and the European Institute for Asian Studies, held a workshop in Brussels on June 20 to speed up the signing and ratification of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).
Speaking at the event, Vietnamese Ambassador Vu Anh Quang stressed the positive results of economic, trade and investment cooperation between Vietnam and the EU, calling for the union’s strengthened collaboration with Vietnam and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
According to him, the EVFTA is a balanced document that benefits both the EU and Vietnam and has big influences on bilateral political, economic, trade and investment ties.
The agreement will help EU companies access the 90-million-people strong Vietnamese market, contributing to boosting bilateral cooperation. It will also allow the EU to improve its position and role in Southeast Asia and Asia-Pacific, Quang said.
He affirmed that Vietnam commits to ensuring an open and transparent business and investment environment as well as following the regulations of the agreement.
Participants at the workshop also lauded the significance of the agreement for both sides.
Many said that EVFTA will open up opportunities for the two sides’ enterprises through forming innovative mechanisms to protect investors, and provide conditions for EU small- and medium-sized enterprises to more easily access the Vietnamese market.
Ambassador and Head of the EU Mission to Vietnam Bruno Angelet emphasised issues that Vietnam needs to solve to take advantage of the agreement, while suggesting the country protect intellectual property.
To boost farm produce exports, Vietnam should obey the EU’s food requirements and the Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary Agreement, he noted.
Member of the European Parliament Jan Zahradil, who is President of the EU-Vietnam Friendship Parliamentians' Group, expressed his belief that the agreement will be approved in the current tenure of the European Parliament.
Next week, Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh will travel to Brussels to solve existing technical matters, so that the European Council can sign the agreement and submit it to the European Parliament for ratification.
The European Parliament in the current tenure will convene its meetings until mid-April, 2019, so both sides have about 10 months to complete the signing and ratification of the agreement, Zahradil said.