EVFTA coming into force, a new landmark in Vietnam-EU relations

Tuesday, 2020-08-04 12:30:58
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Permanent Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son (R) hands over a diplomatic note notifying the Vietnamese National Assembly's ratification of the EVFTA and EVIPA to Ambassador of the EU to Vietnam Giorgio Aliberti on June 18 in Hanoi. (Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
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NDO – The European Union - Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) officially came into effect on August 1, marking an important milestone in bilateral relations on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of Vietnam-EU diplomatic ties (1990-2020).

The implementation of the EVFTA is expected to boost trade and investment between the two sides and bring Vietnam-EU relations to new heights.

Over the course of 30 years, amidst fluctuations in the world and regional situation, relations between Vietnam and the EU have continued to grow in a more and more sound and substantive manner, with the EU-Vietnam Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Partnership and Cooperation (PCA) being officially signed in 2012 and ratified four years later. Bilateral political cooperation has been increasingly tightened through high-level visits, the exchange of delegations at all levels, and bilateral cooperation mechanisms. In terms of economic aspects, the EU is currently one of Vietnam’s leading trade partners with two-way trade reaching US$56.45 billion in 2019. Cooperation in the fields of energy, education and climate change response has also been accelerated, registering many positive results. In addition, Vietnam and the EU have worked closely together at multilateral forums and mechanisms, contributing to promoting cooperation and maintaining rules-based international order for peace, stability and development.

Seven years after the negotiation process was kick-started, the EVFTA was signed in June 2019, together with the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA). Following the approval from the European Parliament (EP), the European Council (EC) and the Vietnamese National Assembly this year, the deal officially came into force from the beginning of August. As stated by Chairman of the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (EuroCham Vietnam) Nicolas Audier, the EVFTA is one of the most comprehensive and ambitious FTAs that the EU has ever signed with a developing country. The EVFTA will bring great and balanced economic benefits between Vietnam and the EU, such as eliminating trade barriers and tariff lines according to the roadmap, creating an open and favourable investment environment to help the two sides’ businesses access each other’s potential markets, together with commitments to meeting international standards in the fields of intellectual property and e-commerce.

With the solid development steps from 30 years of bilateral diplomatic relations, the implementation of the EVFTA will contribute to developing important cooperation frameworks and strongly accelerating trade and investment ties between Vietnam and the EU. Leaders of the two sides have affirmed the importance of the pact and pledged close coordination to effectively implement the EVFTA, thus optimising the benefits brought by the agreement and contributing to reviving growth in the context of the global economy suffering heavily from the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to strengthening the overall relations with the EU, the EVFTA has also opened new opportunities for cooperation between Vietnam and each EU member state.

The EVFTA implementation also demonstrates the two sides’ mutual respect in their respective external development and integration strategies. According to Ambassador and Head of the EU Delegation to Vietnam Pier Giorgio Aliberti, the EVFTA is a premise towards reaching an FTA between the EU and ASEAN. The EVFTA reflects the EU’s wish to expand cooperation with ASEAN and participate more actively in ASEAN-led mechanisms. Accordingly, the EU supports Vietnam’s role as ASEAN Chair 2020 in promoting cooperation between Vietnam and the EU, as well as between ASEAN and the EU.

The implementation of the EVFTA will create new milestones in Vietnam’s international economic integration process, contributing to the common trend of promoting international economic linkages. The EVFTA taking effect affirms the determination of Vietnam and the EU in elevating and further deepening their comprehensive cooperative partnership, while also contributing to strengthening cohesion between the two regions.