“The EU and Vietnam should accelerate preparations for implementing their free trade agreement (EVFTA) and investment protection agreement (EVIPA) as soon as they take effect,” Helena Konig, Deputy Director-General of Trade in the European Commission, told reporters.
The EVFTA and EVIPA are comprehensive and high-quality agreements ensuring a balance of interests for both sides. What do you think of Vietnam’s ability to implement its commitments in the two agreements?
I do not doubt the Vietnamese Government’s commitments as well as its ability to implement them, because the commitments are also part of the reforms that Vietnam is pursuing. Of course, reforming an economy is always a big challenge. The EU, for its part, is willing to help Vietnamese firms take advantage of EVFTA and EVIPA opportunities.
The two sides will discuss ways to help businesses overcome difficulties during the implementation process. I think the business communities of both sides also play an important role in providing information for policy makers and indicating problems that need better solutions.
I think both sides have prepared for implementation so far, although the agreements have not been ratified. However, both Vietnam and the EU need to accelerate preparations to ensure their readiness as soon as the agreements come into force.
In recent years, we have provided support for Vietnam to implement agreements, and this support continues. However, Vietnam needs greater concentration to ensure effective implementation and benefits for all.
There have been concerns about the export of Chinese goods under the cloak of Vietnamese products to the US. Is the EU also concerned and what will it do to deal with this problem?
The EU applies strict and clear regulations on certificate of origin (C/O) to prevent the exploitation of loopholes in the law. It is specified in the agreements and administrative procedures that the two sides will have to cooperate to deal with exploitation of legal loopholes.
Before signing the EVFTA, Vietnam signed the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Recently, it won a non-permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council. How do you think these events have changed Vietnam’s position in the eyes of EU investors?
The signing of the CPTPP and EVFTA reflect Vietnam’s strength in the global economy and its ability to attract investment capital from other countries, not only from the EU.
This will also help Vietnam become a global manufacturing hub in the future. The EVFTA and EVIPA will create opportunities for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) on both sides to increase cooperation. For us, the signing of the EVFTA was a significant step towards broader and deeper cooperation with other partners in ASEAN.
Could you share your forecasts about EU investment flows to Vietnam and their impact on sectors of the Vietnamese economy?
I think capital is flowing into industries. European SMEs are increasingly interested in Vietnam. This is very important because SMEs often have new ideas and when they enter Vietnam, they will create cooperation opportunities for local SMEs.
Also of importance is the fact that when sectors of the Vietnamese economy use European know-how and input materials, their products will be more competitive in the global market.
Source: Vietnam Economic News