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Vietnam says to ratify EVFTA in May
The Saigon Times Daily
Thursday,  Feb 13, 2020,17:03 (GMT+7)

Vietnam says to ratify EVFTA in May

The Saigon Times Daily

European Union and Vietnamese flags fly at the signing ceremony of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement at Vietnam’s Government Office in Hanoi on June 30, 2019 – PHOTO: REUTERS

HCMC – The European Union-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), which will pave the way for tariff reductions on 99% of goods between the EU and the Southeast Asian country, will be ratified in May and take effect in July this year if everything fares well, said Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh.

The minister was speaking at a press briefing in Hanoi on Wednesday, shortly after the European Parliament approved the free trade pact, which the EU described as "the most ambitious free trade deal ever concluded with a developing country," reported the Vietnam News Agency.

Anh noted that Vietnam is waiting for the European Council to ratify the deal as a final procedure while the next sitting of Vietnam’s National Assembly, slated to take place in April and May, will see Party General Secretary and State President Nguyen Phu Trong present the deal to the legislative body, based on the Government’s proposal.

The deal will open up an opportunity to fuel Vietnam’s economic growth and its manufacturing and export sectors as well as meet the needs of the local business community and consumers, he said.

The trade ministry is working with other ministries to prepare the necessary documents, which will be sent to the State President for consideration before the National Assembly meets.

Also, the ministry is reviewing an action plan for the execution of the EVFTA. Once the trade pact is ratified, the plan will be adopted. 

The regulatory framework should be amended to ensure compatibility with the action plan, according to the minister.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade plans to work with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to restructure agricultural production in the long run so that their products can meet stringent technical requirements in EU markets.

The ministry pledged to resume negotiations, especially certification systems for plants and animals, in an attempt to expand export markets and boost the consumption of goods worth up to US$300 billion prioritized by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

The minister stressed that the growing number of trade incentives also entails increased risks of origin and trade fraud. Therefore, the country’s institutional capacity needs to be strengthened and outlined in the action agenda.

“Economic and trade benefits, and many other benefits, will spread widely to all other areas, bringing prosperity and progress to the people. That is something no one can deny,” pointed out Anh.

He noted it is only a question of how Vietnam will carry out this agreement so that the deal can benefit the people on both sides most and ensure that a new integration framework will not leave anyone behind.

He called the agreement a “significant milestone” in the country's relations with the EU. Garment, footwear and wood furniture industries will be the chief Vietnamese beneficiaries.

The deal will eliminate a whopping 99% of tariffs, though Vietnam will have a transitional period of up to 10 years for some imports, such as cars and beer.

Reuters reported that many Vietnamese goods already benefit from preferential access to EU markets under a scheme offered to developing countries. However, this applies to duties on two-thirds of product types and tariffs still apply, albeit at lower rates, to garments.

EVFTA unleashes market potential for European firms: German minister

The EVFTA and the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA), which were approved by the European Parliament on February 12, offer significant business opportunities for European firms, according to German Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier.

The minister said as a fast-growing economy, Vietnam is an ideal market for European products and services. On the back of the two agreements, it will be much easier for European commodities to penetrate the Vietnamese market.

He also described the European Parliament’s approval of the deals as a vital sign of free trade and protectionism prevention.

Meanwhile, Director General of the Federation of German Industries Joachim Lang stated that the local industrial sector was pleased by the adoption of the EVFTA and EVIPA, explaining that the deals will promote trade exchange with the Southeast Asian country.

Sharing the same view, President of the Federation of German Wholesale and Foreign Trade Holger Bingmann billed the EVFTA as the most ambitious free trade agreement ever negotiated with a developing country.

He believed the EVFTA, together with the EVIPA, will help foster economic ties between businesses from both sides.

 

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