Huge Potential for Greater EU-Vietnam Cooperation in Trade, Investment

10:04:14 AM | 30/1/2020

EVFTA and EVIPA are expected to help Vietnam become a hub for European investment in the ASEAN region and give Vietnamese companies privileged access to Europe’s 500-million-strong consumer market, and Vietnamese citizens greater access to high-quality European goods. On the occasion of Tet holiday 2020, Vietnam Business Forum has conducted an interview with Mr. Nicolas Audier, EuroCham Chairman, with respect to EU-Vietnam cooperation in trade and investment. Lien Bui reports

How do you evaluate Vietnam’s administrative reform and business, investment environment?

Throughout 2019, the Government has continued to reform Vietnam’s trade and investment environment. It has done so through an open and receptive relationship with foreign business and international chambers of commerce, for instance in the Vietnam Business Forum (VBF), Advisory Council for Administrative Procedure Reform (ACAPR), as well as EuroCham’s annual Whitebook events. The continued streamlining of business conditions and reforms to the legal framework is making Vietnam an even more attractive place for foreign enterprises to invest and do business, and EuroCham is pleased to support the Government in its efforts to reform the business environment and attract more investment from foreign enterprises.

What potential exists for trade and investment cooperation of both sides?

There is huge potential for greater EU-Vietnam cooperation in trade and investment in the future. The EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA) were signed this June in Hanoi, in the presence of the Prime Minister of Vietnam and EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom. This historic event takes us one step closer to ratification, with the last and final steps being votes in the European Parliament and Vietnam’s National Assembly in the New Year.

Once ratified and implemented, the EVFTA will phase out tariffs and barriers to trade. Over the decade-long implementation period, around 99% of tariff lines will be eliminated, which will boost trade and investment and help Vietnam further align itself to international standards on everything from labour rights and environmental protection and from food safety to legislative reform. In short, the free trade agreement will give Vietnamese companies privileged access to Europe’s 500-million-strong consumer market, and Vietnamese citizens greater access to high-quality European goods from pharmaceutical products and medical devices to automobiles and wines & spirits. The EVFTA is the most comprehensive and ambitious free trade agreement ever concluded between the EU and a developing nation, and once it has entered into force, it will help Vietnam become a hub for European investment in the ASEAN region.

 How would you cooperate with VCCI to improve business connectivity of Vietnam and EU?

EuroCham and VCCI have had a long and positive record of cooperation. The support of the VCCI has been instrumental in helping our chamber to build effective relationships with the Government of Vietnam and its Ministries and, in doing so, better support our members.

Now, with ratification of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) on the horizon, subject to positive votes in the European Parliament and Vietnam’s National Assembly, we hope to take this cooperation one step further so that both sides can take full advantage of this historic agreement. In particular, we hope to soon establish an EU-Vietnam Business Council to ensure a smooth implementation of the EVFTA on the ground, using the combined knowledge and experience of our two organizations to ensure that the provisions agreed to in principle are followed in practice.

What is your feeling about the culinary culture, festivals, customs and traditions of Vietnamese traditional Tet holiday?

Tet is one of the occasions which makes Vietnam such a unique, attractive, and welcoming place for foreigners to live and do business. Of course, many of our members come to Vietnam because it is a fast-growing market with significant opportunities for trade and investment. However, the reason so many of them stay and build their lives here is the wonderful culture, cuisine, and traditions of Vietnam and the Vietnamese people. Tet is, of course, the most famous of these, and I am sure that EuroCham members are looking forward to spending Tet with their families and enjoying the traditions of this special time.
Thank you very much!