EuroCham, VCCI Join Forces to Advance EVFTA Implementation

1:04:32 PM | 10/29/2020

The Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the European Chamber of Commerce (EuroCham) recently established a new bilateral forum to support the implementation of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).

This new forum, the EU-Vietnam Business Council (EVBC), brings together representatives of the European and Vietnamese business communities to share insights and discuss common challenges in the implementation of this historic mega pact.

First envisioned after the signing of the EVFTA in Hanoi in 2019, its establishment has received high-level support from Vietnam’s Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh, as well as former EU Trade Commissioners Celia Malmstrom and Phil Hogan.

Addressing the signing ceremony on October 22, VCCI Vice President Hoang Quang Phong said EVFTA was considered a bright spot and a new strength that Vietnam could utilize to assert its position and quickly restore economic development rate after the COVID-19 pandemic. In the immediate future of the year 2020, in addition to providing information about EVFTA, the Council would organize working groups to gather opinions of businesses in related fields about their difficulties in the implementation process, inadequacies in terms of procedures and policies, from which to coordinate with relevant ministries, branches and agencies to support enterprises.

Jointly led by the chairmen of EuroCham and VCCI, the board of the Council consists of eight other members – with four from each chamber of commerce. The Council will also establish a number of working groups for companies in similar sectors, connecting Vietnamese and European enterprises to build stronger relationships and increase knowledge-sharing in specific industries, while also helping to smooth the path for the effective implementation of the EVFTA.

The Council will publish regular papers on the progress of the implementation of the EVFTA, and meet with high-level representatives of the European Commission in Brussels and the Vietnamese Government to share updates from companies on the ground.

In force since August 1, the EVFTA is the most comprehensive and ambitious free trade agreement ever signed between the EU and a developing nation, and just the second FTA signed with an ASEAN member state. Now it has entered into force; 65% of EU exports to Vietnam are tariff-free, along with 71% of Vietnam’s exports to the European Union. This will rise to almost 99% over the next decade, giving Vietnamese enterprises privileged access to Europe’s large consumer market and EU business better access to Vietnam’s fast-growing sectors and industries.

Dr. Vu Tien Loc, Chairman & President of VCCI

Throughout the past years, the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (EuroCham) have been side by side, effortlessly promoted the process of negotiation, review, and information exchange on the signing of the EU - Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA). We are delighted and grateful for the determination made by the Government of Vietnam and the EU authorities over the past years for the signing of the two agreements.

The EU - Vietnam Business Council is designed to support the Vietnamese business community to enter the EVFTA “highway". On that highway, Vietnamese businesses are sure to face many difficulties. Nervousness is inevitable, but that is not a reason not to take the highway. The Council will represent the voices of Vietnamese and EU businesses in the EVFTA implementation, and acts as a focal point to bring opinions of businesses to the Government and relevant agencies of both Vietnam and the EU.

Mr. Nicolas Audier, Chairman of EuroCham

The EVFTA is a once-in-a-generation free trade agreement. Over the next decade, it will help boost trade and investment between Vietnam – one of the world’s fastest-growing and most attractive markets – and the European Union, the world’s largest trading bloc. It is a true ‘win-win’ for companies and consumers on both sides.

Now the EVFTA has entered into force, it is up to business communities on both sides to make it a success and to ensure that our enterprises and societies can both unlock their full potential. EuroCham is proud to establish this new forum with VCCI, and to reaffirm the strong and effective relationship between our two chambers at the beginning of this new chapter of EU-Vietnam trade and investment relations.

Mr. Nguyen Do Anh Tuan, Director of Int’l Cooperation Department, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development

The council is a very practical step, supporting the business community to maximize the conditions and opportunities offered by EVFTA. This is also a specific step in the process of completing and supplementing activities and cooperation mechanisms so that enterprises have the best conditions to promote production and export activities.

In the agricultural sector, in general, agricultural products will still enjoy many preferences in exporting to the EU market, thanks to the advantages of variety, competitive prices, etc. This is also an opportunity for Vietnamese businesses to look at themselves by meeting a string of stringent requirements on technical standards, quality, and food safety and hygiene standards at a rigorous and uniform level. Satisfying the requirements of EU importers and consumers, Vietnamese goods in general will be equivalent to a guarantee of class and can be exported around the world.

Giang Tu (Vietnam Business Forum)