|Officials and business leaders from Vietnam and the EU at a workshop on bilateral free trade agreement in Brussels, Belgium, on September 7, 2017.
Vietnam and the European Union (EU) signed a statement on the official conclusion of their free trade talks in late 2015.
Their Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Partnership and Cooperation has already taken effect.
Both sides’ priorities
Since the conclusion of EU-Vietnam FTA, the business climate in Vietnam has improved significantly with the reform of investment law and simplified administrative procedures.
Vietnam has amended its Labor Code to match its FTA commitments. The amendments consulted by international organizations, businesses, and independent experts will be submitted to the National Assembly for approval next year.
Vietnam is set to ratify 3 conventions of the International Labor Organization (ILO) on eliminating coerced labor and on collective bargaining agreements.
Minister of Labor, Invalids, and Social Affairs Dao Ngoc Dung said, “Vietnam gives top priority to completing legal ground towards ratifying the free trade agreement with the EU. Vietnam will work closely with EU and flexibly settle arising problems. As a member of the ILO, Vietnam pledges to strictly and effectively implement its commitments. Vietnam has ratified 5 out of the 8 core ILO conventions and plans to ratify the remaining 3 conventions.”
EU chief negotiator Mauro Petriccione said both sides have achieved major progress and that it’s now important to reach the finish line smoothly.
He said, “We are trying to make the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement come into effect next year at the earliest. This is a high-quality deal and one of the pillars of Europe’s trade policy for Asia. We are in the process of preparing legal dossiers with Vietnam and translating them into European languages for the consideration of the European Council and Parliament. We are doing our utmost to have our arguments heard and the process approved as soon as possible.”
Jean Jacques Bouflet, a member of the European Chamber of Commerce (Eurocham)’s Executive Committee in Vietnam said Eurocham supports Vietnam’s goodwill in modernizing administrative procedures to create favorable conditions for investors.
He added that once coming into force, the EU-Vietnam FTA will become an effective tool to protect businesses’ operation in each other’s country.
Bernd Lange, Chairman of the European Parliament’s Committee on International Trade, said, “Thanks a lot for this timeline as the first time we get to send. Now the new timeline is brought back to my colleagues. I'm convinced that we will have a continuous dialogue. And thanks a lot also for the explanation of outer content of the provision of Labor Code. Let's stay in contact and hopefully we'll get a successful solution so that our process is not harmed.”
Nguyen Hoang Long, Director of the Department of Foreign Affairs of Localities at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said, “We have worked with the European Parliament and Commissioners in charge of cooperation with Vietnam and they have reiterated their support for the deal. They are convinced by the support from European firms and citizens who are living, working, and doing successful business in Vietnam. I hope that with stronger government activities and exchanges, the EU-Vietnam FTA will soon be ratified and implemented, living up to both sides’ expectations.”