Vietnam-EU FTA under discussion

(VOV) -Ho Chi Minh City hosted a March 15 seminar to discuss the contents of the Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement (VEFTA) that Vietnamese businesses need to consider.

The event was co-organized by the European Trade Policy and Investment Support Project (EU-MUTRAP) and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI).

The VEFTA is a comprehensive free trade agreement drafted to benefit both parties and honour their obligations as World Trade Organization members.

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Under the agreement, Vietnamese exports will enjoy exemptions from at least 90 percent of EU taxes, helping to direct the attention of EU capital towards Vietnam.

But Vietnam will also face challenges arising from opening its service market, clarifying its business and investment regulations, and complying with the zero import duty commitments applicable to most taxes.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade’s (MoIT) Multilateral Trade Policy Department Deputy Head Le Trieu Dung said the VEFTA negotiations cover not only commodities and services but also intellectual property, public procurement, and sustainable development.

Dung believes Vietnamese businesses should follow the progress and contribute their opinions to the VEFTA negotiations in order to protect their legitimate rights, prepare for the tax reduction roadmap, and effectively take advantage of their preferential positions after the agreement is signed.

Jean-Jacques Bouflet—Minister-Counsellor for the European Union’s Delegation to Vietnam—said the VEFTA is mutually supplementary rather than competitive. The future signing of the agreement will offer opportunities based on a market approach that will benefit both sides.

Stronger Vietnam-EU economic relations in recent years have helped Vietnamese exports surge. Exports in 2012 represented a 22.5 percent increase over 2011. EU import growth recorded rates of 18 percent in 2011 and 13.3 percent in 2012.

Vietnam’s primary EU exports are electrical engineering equipment, garments and textiles, footwear, coffee, and seafood, while its major imports include advanced technology products, machinery and equipment, and transport vehicles.