|Deputy Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son made the remarks during a recent media interview when discussing the significance of the ratification of the two trade deals with the EU.
The nation’s ratification of the EVFTA and EVIPA, together with the decision taken by the European Parliament to approve the two agreements in February, strongly affirms the wishes, interests, and determination of both sides to try and strength bonds whilst striving for new breakthroughs to take Vietnam-EU relations to new heights after enjoying diplomatic ties for three decades.
Amid the past three decades witnessing a rapidly-changing global situation, relations with the bloc have steadily grown in a deeper and more substantive manner. Some of the historical milestones include the establishment of a comprehensive and co-operative partnership in 2012, along with the ratification of the EU-Vietnam Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Partnership and Cooperation back in 2016.
Recent times have seen political ties between both sides become increasingly close through high-level exchange visits held at all levels in addition to the implementation of regular and effective bilateral co-operation mechanisms. Indeed, the two sides are keen to promote co-operation in terms of security and defence, especially through the signing of the Framework Agreement in late 2019 to increase the country’s role in the EU’s crisis management activities as a way of consolidating mutual trust amid unpredictable global and regional fluctuations.
Economic co-operation is therefore considered to be an area with plenty of mutual benefits, with the EU developing into the nation’s third largest trading partner, the largest non-refundable aid provider, and one of the leading investors in the country. Simultaneously, the nation has become the EU’s second largest trading partner in ASEAN.
With two-way trade turnover reaching US$56.45 billion in 2019, the country’s exports to the EU grew at an average rate of 16% over the previous two decades. Whilst co-operation in education, laws, energy, climate change adaption, along with protection of water resources has also been constantly promoted, serving to bring about a range of practical benefits for both sides to enjoy.
Moreover, the nation has been able to share a number of mutual benefits with the EU. The partnership has seen the two parties work closely during multilateral forums and mechanisms, whilst actively contributing to increasing multilateral co-operation and the international law-based order for the sake of peace, stability, development, whilst also promoting trade investment liberalisation, and responding to global challenges.
The implementation of the EVFTA therefore affirms the strategic development of bilateral relations and serves to demonstrate the mutual respect that each side has for the other's position in terms of foreign policy, development, and integration. This partnership will help each side’s long-term interests, in addition to contributing to peace, stability, and development across Asia and Europe.
With regard to the signing and ratification of the EVFTA and EVIPA being important steps towards implementing the overall strategy on international integration for the year with a vision ahead to 2030, Deputy FM Son underscored the need to develop a roadmap which can be proactively deployed. Any plans must be effective and seek to take full advantage of the benefits and opportunities that will appear as a result of the FTA agreements and FTAs with partners, especially "new generation" FTAs such as the CPTPP, the EVFTA, and the RCEP.
It is considered necessary to conduct an in-depth study whilst applying common laws, standards, and sanctions in an effort to protect national interests in the context of growing economic-trade disputes and protectionism occurring globally. With regard to the current situation, the effective implementation of FTAs should go alongside the strengthening of internal resources, developing an autonomous economy, improving productivity, and boosting the economy’s overall competitiveness.
The Deputy FM went on to emphasise the necessity of keeping updated on new and rapidly emerging trends relating to digital transformation and the digital economy, whilst providing a fresh impetus for economic growth, innovation, and sustainable development.
Various ministries, sectors, and businesses should strive to be active in an effort to capitalise on the trend of capital flows, global production, value chains, along with waves of global trade and investment as a means of attracting high-quality investment.
It can be considered necessary to discuss the ratification process with EU members early, in addition to rapidly putting the EVIPA into practice in order to attract high-quality investment from EU nations into sectors that are strong contributors to developing a green and sustainable economy. In order to do this, improvements must be made to the investment environment towards international standards relating to the protection of foreign investment, Son said.
The Vietnamese diplomat also expressed the need to focus on revamping comprehensive policies and legal frameworks through harmonising criteria, technical regulations, as well as both regional and international standards.