Belgium workshop looks into EVFTA, EVIPA

A workshop was held at the headquarters of the European Parliament (EP) in Brussels, Belgium, on January 28 to clear up parliamentarians’ concern regarding the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA).

belgium workshop looks into evfta, evipa hinh 0
At the workshop (Photo: VNA)

The event, which took place before the two deals are approved at a plenary session of the EP scheduled for mid-February, brought together the EU’s trade commissioner Phil Hogan, Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh, Chairman of the EP’s Committee on International Trade (INTA) Bernd Lange, INTA’s rapporteur to EVFTA Geert Bourgeois, EU Ambassador to Vietnam Giorgio Aliberti, and nearly 120 delegates who are European parliamentarians and representatives of EU organisations and business associations.

Phil Hogan said the economies of Vietnam and EU members are reciprocal. Therefore, the agreements would help the EU enhance its access to the Vietnamese market and pour more investment into the Southeast Asian nation.

He described the signing of the deals as a milestone in the EU-Vietnam relations, expressing his hope that they will sail through the EP during the upcoming plenary session.

Speaking at the workshop, Khanh said trade accounts for more than 200 percent of Vietnam’s gross domestic product (GDP), and has helped nearly 30 million Vietnamese people escape from poverty over the past two decades.

Vietnam has actively committed to implementing the multilateral trade policy despite the increasing protectionism, he said, elaborating opportunities generated by the EVFTA to European firms once the deal comes into force.

The pact will benefit not only businesses but also consumers and labourers, he stressed.

The Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade submitted the dossier recommending the ratification of the two agreements to the National Assembly, the official said.

According to Geert Bourgeois, the ratification of the agreements will reflect that the EU is a trust-worthy partner in the negotiation and signing of FTAs.

He lauded the Vietnamese Government’s commitments regarding rights of employees, human rights and the environment, and called for the strong support of European parliamentarians and the Vietnamese legislature so that the deals will be ratified and become effective.

Some European parliamentarians expressed their concerns over such issues as rights of labourers, possible impacts of some Vietnamese agricultural products on EU member countries, the popularisation of benefits brought by the FTA among Vietnamese small-and medium-sized enterprises.

Their concerns have been cleared up by representatives of EU organisations operating in Vietnam, trade commissioner Phil Hogan and Deputy Minister Khanh.