Vietnam will continue to fulfill its international commitments so that it can take full advantage of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and recover its economy amid a resurgence of COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking at the forum on trade cooperation with EU partners on Friday, Hoang Quoc Vuong, deputy minister of Industry and Trade, said the trade deal, which takes effect on August 1, will open up many co-operation opportunities between Vietnam and the EU.
|Tuna fish to be exported to the EU market__Photo: Xuan Truong
“Vietnam, as one of a few countries to maintain positive growth this year, will continue to strengthen the business environment and complete the legal framework for trade and investment, ensuring the legal rights of investors, in order to take full advantage of this historic trade pact.”
The Government has directed the Ministry of Industry and Trade and Vietnamese Trade Offices in the EU and the UK to continue to provide Vietnamese enterprises with market information, connect them with foreign partners, and solve any problems they face penetrating the EU market, he said.
The graphic shows how the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) is carried out. Source: Ministry of Industry and Trade.
In the last 18 years, two-way trade value between the EU and Vietnam has increased more than 13 times from about USUSD 4.1 billion in 2000 to USD 56.45 billion last year. Vietnamese exports to the EU last year reached almost USD 41.5 billion and imports from the EU were over USD 14.9 billion, he said.
In the first five months of the year, 26 out of 27 EU countries invested in Vietnam with 2,040 projects worth USD 21.66 billion, up USD 553 million compared to the same period last year, he added.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on activity in the first half of 2020, and the recovery is projected to be more gradual than previously forecasted.
The period saw Vietnamese exports to the EU market suffer a decline of 8.8 per cent to USD 16.1 billion due to the pandemic impact.
The markets that imported large volumes of Vietnamese goods during the period included Germany at USD 3.31 billion, down 0.2 percent; the Netherlands at USD 3,178 billion, a fall of 1.8 percent; Italy at USD 1,412 billion, a drop of 20.6 percent; France at USD 1.5 billion, down 20 percent; Spain at USD 963 million, a fall of 27.3 percent; and Sweden at USD 556 million, a decline of 5.5 percent.
Jean-Jacques Bouflet, vice chairman of European Commerce of Chamber in Vietnam (EuroCham), said the trade deal would boost Vietnam’s exports to the EU, one of the largest and most lucrative markets in the world.
With a population of more than 500 million and a combined GDP of over USD 15 trillion, accounting for 22 percent of the world’s GDP, the EU is the largest exporter and importer in the world with annual trade of USD 3.8 trillion.
Vietnam has made huge progress over the last few decades in streamlining business conditions and modernizing the legal framework to catch new investment and business opportunities, Bouflet noted, adding that “the EVFTA is a strong vote of confidence in Vietnam from the EU”.
He, however, said that the EU market is highly demanding so “exporters must meet its food safety and hygiene standards and management procedures, and provide transparent information related to labor and the working environment”.
In addition, other markets in the EU to which Vietnamese goods have yet to gain entry include Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Croatia, Luxembourg, Lithuania, Czech Republic, and Romania.- (VNS/VLLF)