The FTA, which was signed late last year, will generate new growth and export opportunities for small, medium and large local companies when it comes into full force in 2018, said Trade Tran Quoc Khanh, deputy minister of the MoIT.
Mr Khanh made the remark in response to queries from guests at a conference in Hanoi discussing the full ramifications of the trade deal.
The Vietnam government has long been an advocate of bilateral and multilateral free trade, said Mr Khanh, and we are confident this new agreement once signed by Prime Minister and approved by the NA will deliver promising new channels of trade for Vietnam and EU economies.
We are particularly pleased to see that the deal provides clear and simple rules of origin, as well as transparent and effective origin procedures to administer the rules without creating unnecessary barriers to trade.
In addition, the FTA includes advance rulings on origin and tariff classifications, promotion of automated border procedures and an impartial and transparent system for addressing complaints about customs issues.
The Vietnam government is committed to growing its trade partners with economies around the globe and is particularly focused on diversifying Vietnamese local companies exports to markets such as the EU, US, ASEAN and Eurasia.
The government looks forward to the EU deal being finalized by all of the respective parties and to seeing precisely what specific international opportunities will be created as a result.
Mr Khanh said he understands the concerns of many citizens regarding free market competition and potential threat to the nation’s local businesses.
But he reminded guests at the conference that in the decade following the nation’s accession to the World Trade Organization exports more than tripled— and stood at US$160 billion last year.
This vividly demonstrates that citizens and local companies have nothing to fear from open market competition, said Mr Khanh.
He said he was confident the new trade agreement means the nation’s exports could see a substantial boost amid broader access to the EU— whose member-countries collectively represent one of the largest economies in the world.
Key exports of Vietnam to the EU include telephones and parts, electronic products, footwear, textiles and clothing, coffee, rice, seafood and furniture, he said, but told the guests that as a result of the FTA the government would concentrate on enlarging the range of exports.
The FTA will allow the nation to move away from the traditional export drivers and into other sectors of the economy, particularly the technology segment, a key to unlocking the full economic potential of Vietnamese, said Mr Khanh.
In 2012, said Mr Khanh, the Vietnam government unveiled a broad, ‘three pillar’ economic reform program, in which it proposed to restructure public investment, state-owned enterprises and the banking sector.
The FTA will help advance the economic reform begun in 2012 and play an instrumental role in setting the stage for economic stability that will reign for decades to come, said Mr Khanh.
Most importantly, said Mr Khanh, the agreement will provide a hefty boost to an already bustling and robust economy that will continue to grow a larger middle class, lifting tens of millions of the nation’s citizens out of poverty.