VN-EU Pact To Deliver The Goods
Viet Nam is a friendly and reliable partner of the EU and the Free Trade Agreement being negotiated will promote growth for both sides, a senior European Commission official has said.
Joseph Waldstein Wartenberg, spokesman for the EC's Trade Office, told the Vietnam News Agency reporter in Brussels that the signing of the Agreement of Partnership and Cooperation and the FTA negotiations are positive signs in bilateral ties as Viet Nam and the EU celebrate the 25th anniversary of diplomatic ties this year.
Viet Nam and EU are set to continue the 12th round of negotiations on the EU-Viet Nam Free Trade Agreement on March 24 in Ha Noi.
EU is the second largest trade partner of Viet Nam behind China, with Viet Nam-EU trade reaching 27 billion euros in 2013. Viet Nam is the fourth largest trading partner of EU in ASEAN and the 30th in the world.
Vietnamese exports to EU increased by 28 per cent during the 2009-2013 period.
Warternberg said that besides tax and trade barriers, negotiations would focus on legal issues, competitiveness and other issues related to intellectual property rights.
To prevent Viet Nam from becoming a low-skilled labour market after signing the FTA, he said there will be a chapter on sustainable commerce and development, including commitments under norms set by the International Labour Organisation.
Other regulations on the labour and investment environment as well as a legal framework involving civil organisations will also be negotiated.
Alongside these, Viet Nam needs to be committed to protecting and managing sustainably its biodiversity and its forests, preventing illegal logging as part of its efforts to fight climate change, he added.
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Together with the signing of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, concluding negotiations on a free trade agreement (EVFTA) will mark significant progress in bilateral ties between Vietnam and the European Union (EU), stated a European Commission (EC) official.
The EVFTA is expected to fuel growth and job generation in both Vietnam and the EU, Wartenberg held.
He noted that EU is the second largest trade partner of Vietnam with 2013 trade hitting 27 billion EUR, including 21 billion EUR of EU’s imports from the Southeast Asian country. Vietnam is the fourth largest trade partner of the EU among ASEAN countries, and the 30 th among the union’s global trade partners.
Vietnam’s exports to the EU grew 28 percent from 2009 to 2013, he added. Major Vietnamese products shipped to the EU include footwear, apparel, coffee, rice, seafood and wooden products.
Commenting on the Vietnamese economy, Wartenberg said the country is one of the most rapidly developing ASEAN countries and serves as an outstanding example of an open trade market.
With its young and skilled workforce, the country has great potential for a trade and investment partnership with the EU, he said.
The official asserted that the EVFTA is an ambitious and comprehensive deal in terms of goods, services, investment and government purchase. Apart from the removal of tariff and non-tariff barriers, both sides are working to settle other issues related to trade, legal matters, competition, intellectual property, and geographical indication, he revealed.
At the same time, the deal is expected to create abundant business opportunities for both sides, said Wartenberg.
In order for Vietnam to avoid becoming a low-skill labour market, the EVFTA will include a chapter on sustainable trade and development, including commitments to uphold International Labour Organisation standards and regulations against sacrificing labour and environmental laws for the sake of trade and investment, he revealed.
He also expressed his appreciation of Vietnam’s commitment to economic and political reform, affirming that the EU will continue assisting Vietnam in the process through the EVFTA