National Assembly (NA) Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan hosted a reception in Hanoi on January 7 for Vice President of the European Parliament (EP) Heidi Hautala.
The Vietnamese top legislator thanked Hautala for her positive contributions to promoting the Vietnam-European Union (EU) relationship, as well as the partnership between the Vietnamese NA and the EP.
She noted that the relationship between Vietnam and the EU has been growing in all fields, especially trade and investment.
The EU is now the fourth largest trade partner and the second biggest export market of Vietnam, as well as the fifth largest investor in the Southeast Asian country, Ngan said.
The NA leader briefed her guest on Vietnam’s socio-economic performances in 2018, including GDP growth of 7.08 percent. The Vietnamese NA ratified the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) last year, creating an important foundation for Vietnam to continue its intensive international integration and a new momentum for national development, she stressed.
|National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan (R) meets with Vice President of the European Parliament Heidi Hautala in Hanoi__Photo: VNA|
For her part, Hautala said that during her visit, she had worked with leaders of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and other relevant agencies on the implementation of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance, and Trade (VPA/FLEGT) between the EU and Vietnam.
The two sides agreed on specific contents to be conducted in the coming time, she said, adding that the EP is working to ensure the prompt realization of the deal.
Stressing that Vietnam is an important import-export partner of the EU, Hautala said that the EU has paid great attention to sustainability and product origin, which is included in the VPA/FLEGT.
The EP Vice President noted that in 2018, the NA of Vietnam actively coordinated with the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) to hold activities related to the UN sustainable development goals and the role of the parliament in reaching the goals through the application of a self-evaluation tool.
Together with bilateral cooperation mechanisms, the EP wants to set up collaboration mechanisms with other ASEAN countries’ parliaments, said Hautala.
Ngan showed her support for the idea, pledging that Vietnam is willing to assist in the formation of such mechanisms.
The Vietnamese NA leader expressed her hope that the EP will soon ratify the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), vowing that Vietnam is willing to listen to the opinions of European economic policymakers and enterprises for the effective implementation of the deal, which, she said will create close connections between the EU and the regions of Southeast Asia and the Asia-Pacific.
The Vietnamese NA is working to complete the legal corridor to improve the investment and business environment, thus ensuring the stable, long-term, and effective operation of foreign investors, including those from Europe, she said.
The NA will work with the Government to institutionalize the regulations of the EVFTA, asking the latter to submit its final report for the consideration of the agreement’s approval, Ngan said.
The top legislator affirmed that as a responsible and active member of many multilateral cooperation forums and many new generation free trade agreements, Vietnam will strictly implement its commitments in line with regulations stipulated in these mechanisms.
In order to institutionalize and effectively carry out the VPA/FLEGT, which Vietnam signed in October 2018, Vietnam will soon build a decree to control the import of wood, as well as regulations related to Vietnam's timber legality assurance system (VNTLAS) she said.
The Vietnamese NA leader expressed her hope that Vietnam and the EU will soon approve the VPA/FLEGT to facilitate wood and wooden furniture trading between the two sides and contribute to hastening the approval of the EVFTA.- (VNA/VLLF)