Irrational and brazen fuss

Monday, 2020-02-10 20:43:30
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NDO – They do not want Vietnam to develop - that is a comment shared by the public when witnessing several organisations and individuals protesting against Vietnam and the European Union (EU) signing the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA).

Instead of acknowledging the truth, such organisations and individuals use the card of human rights to slander the Vietnamese State brazenly, thereby plotting to obstruct Vietnam’s expansion of economic relations, regardless of the fact that such relations will bring substantive benefits to all Vietnamese, which in turn facilitates the perfection and development of human rights in society.

In June 2019 in Hanoi, representatives of the Vietnamese Government and the EU signed the EVFTA and EVIPA following the approval of EU member countries.

On January 21, the European Parliament’s Committee on International Trade (INTA) voted on and approved a resolution asking for the European Parliament (EP)’s ratification of the EVFTA and EVIPA. This February, during its session in France, the EP will vote on these two agreements. If they are ratified, the EVFTA will come into force immediately while the EVIPA will take effect later, pending ratification by each EU member country.

Such a result comes after nearly ten years of joint efforts by the Vietnamese Government and the EU from agreeing to start negotiations, announcing the start of negotiations and concluding negotiations, legal review to prepare for and complete the signing of the EVFTA, to agreeing to split the EVFTA into two separate agreements, the EVFTA with the current contents and the EVIPA for investment protection, investment dispute settlement, concluding the EVFTA legal review, reaching agreement on EVIPA’s content and completing legal review for the EVIPA, officially adopting the EVFTA and EVIPA, and approval for signing the agreements.

For the Vietnamese side, in order to meet the requirements of the EVFTA and EVIPA, the Government took important and necessary steps, which are highly valued by its partners.

For example, Vietnam “made progress this past November with the adoption of a revised labour code, which for the first time allows workers to set up a representative organisation or join one of their own choosing”, according to the Foreign Trade Association (Amfori). The association’s head also recognised Vietnam’s progress on human rights.

Following the signing ceremony in Hanoi, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström stated that the signing was an important milestone in the long-lasting cooperation between the two sides. She expressed her belief that the implementation of the agreements will bring benefits to consumers and businesses of both Vietnam and the EU with 99% of the tariff lines eliminated.

She added that the agreement will also help promote investment between the two sides and the earlier the ratification the more benefits it brings to the people, workers and consumers. Malmström noted that this is a signal sent to the world amid growing protectionism in many places.

According to the trade commissioner, the EU is looking to the Asian friend, wishing this to be the foundation for cooperation between the parties and increased regional integration. She emphasised that with the parties’ strengths and diversity, the agreements will bring the largest benefits and highest growth for both sides.

The above are responsible and accurate opinions, because the signing of the EVFTA and EVIPA not only meets the need for development cooperation between Vietnam and the EU, but also symbolises a positive trend of today’s humanity, that is cooperation for the interests of all sides, contributing to sustainable development, for a world of peace, stability and development.

According to an introduction to the EVFTA and EVIPA posted on the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s portal, the EVFTA will help Vietnamese exports to the EU increase by 20% in 2020, 42.7% in 2025 and 44.37% in 2030 compared with a no-deal situation. At the same time, Vietnam’s imports from the EU are also forecast to increase, albeit slower than export growth, by 15.28% in 2020, 33.06% in 2025 and 36.7% in 2030.

Furthermore, commitments on services-investment, government procurement, as well as specific regulations on market access openness and technical measures in some specific areas will also create opportunities for EU businesses, products and services to have better access to the Vietnamese market of nearly 100 million people, while helping Vietnamese consumers to access high-quality products and services from the EU in areas such as pharmaceuticals, healthcare, infrastructure construction and public transport.

It is safe to say that the signing of the EVFTA and EVIPA between Vietnam and the EU will bring a great deal of substantive benefits, open strong and comprehensive cooperation between the two sides, exerting a positive impact on the Vietnamese economy, helping to make use of the resources, tap into its potentials, create more job opportunities for everyone and improve quality of life. The final result of these factors are an increasingly growing country and improved standards of living for its people.

However, these things are beyond the wishes and thoughts of hostile forces, as well as some organisations and individuals that are not in good faith towards Vietnam. Because the reality shows that, as a "permanent instinct", for decades, whenever some international cooperation established that may have positive impact on the development of Vietnam, such organisations and subjects immediately raise their objections, while at the same time trying to find ways to obstruct and prevent them from occurring.

It happened for the signing of EVFTA and EVIPA, too. Over the past years, with the close coordination among both domestic and foreign forces, they have been running around to protest. Based on the argument that its nature is fabricated to slander Vietnam on human rights issue, they call on each other to sign the so call "open letter" to suggest some responsible individuals in the EU "postpone the approval until human rights requirements are met by the Vietnamese government.”

Despite Vietnam's human rights achievements that have been highly praised by the international community, they appear here and there to carry out "hearings" and attend seminars just to repeat statements that are contrary to the thinking and awareness of the true persons who promote human rights and truly care about the lives of their compatriots.

Even through the so-called "letter to the European Parliament" on February 4, 2020, they loudly criticised the "majority" in INTA "ignoring repeated pledges formulated by many international and Vietnamese NGOs"... With the crazy and shameless protest activities, they reveal their dark malice and political intrigue, which is ready to trample and neglect the rights of Vietnamese workers.

Not to mention that with the signing of EVFTA and EVIPA, Vietnam's goods will improve their quality to meet the standards of their highly demanding partners. That will be an important factor pushing Vietnamese businesses to pay more attention to their domestic production methods and quality of goods. More and more of Vietnam's goods will be exported, and the inevitable result is the lives of workers in Vietnam will be improved, while the potential of all aspects of the country can also be increasingly enhanced, creating more favourable conditions for Vietnam to increasingly strengthen its tasks in building and defending the country.

Therefore, it is not surprising to look at the list of organisations and individuals who have been opposing the signing of EVFTA and EVIPA. These objects are not entirely strange. They are organisations and individuals who for many years have immediately voiced criticism and opposition without sense of shame whenever there is an international cooperation that benefits and improves Vietnam's prestige, or whenever there is any international appreciation for Vietnam's achievements.

They are old faces who have never been in good faith, such as Human Rights Watch (HRW) with comments that slander Vietnam and incite members of the EP. Such comments have been reflected very specifically through an interview by Claudio Francavilla, a HRW representative in Europe, on RFA on February 7, 2020. Along with HRW is a collection of junk organisations that claim to be "working for human rights" but exist in name rather than in fact, mainly operating on the internet, such as VETO (Human Rights Defenders’ Network), Que me (belonging to the so-called "Buddhist Solidarity Association"), BPSOS (Boat People SOS – the organisation has organised signing of a "petition letter" sent to the US Government and suffered failure miserably), and CRFV (Committee for Religious Freedom in Vietnam) ...

Notably, to sabotage Vietnam, these organisations do not hesitate to sign a partnership with the terrorist organisation "Viet Tan" and VOICE (the "extended arm" of Viet Tan terrorist organisation). Meanwhile, the other individuals are still the same, still "dropping the tears every week" and have signed on many fabricated documents slandering the Vietnamese State in the issue of human rights.

Promoting economic development in order to ensure the increasingly improved interests of the entire people is one of the important and basic goals that the Party and State of Vietnam always strive for and head towards. The corollary of this guarantee is to contribute to the consolidation and development of human rights in Vietnam. In turn, the human rights achievements gained from economic development will directly refute, expose and turn the rhetoric of hostile forces and a number of unwholesome organisations and individuals into clichés and comicality.

Therefore, these objects must always find ways to "politicise" Vietnam's economic relations with foreign countries, putting pressure on Vietnamese partners to follow their irrational demands. These noisy acts that have been brazened around the signing of EVFTA and EVIPA between the EU and Vietnam are vivid evidences, sufficient to prove that such organisations and individuals do not care about human rights and do not want Vietnam to develop. They just try to seek ways to devise evil tricks to prevent all useful and beneficial relations for Vietnam, with the expectation of Vietnam to be stagnant and the Vietnamese people in disadvantaged "to fish in troubled waters." That is the problem that needs to be exposed and condemned.

In order for EVFTA and EVIPA to promote their positive effects and bring benefits to Vietnam and the EU, for its part, when these two agreements are approved by the EP, the Government of Vietnam and the concerned domestic authorities and businesses should step with the roadmap to fulfil their commitments with the EU on trade in goods, EU export goods, trade in services and investment, government procurement, geographical indications, and implementing the provisions of EVIPA. These are complex tasks but need to be carried out to expand the premise for the country's sustainable development, thus adding more favourable conditions to help increasingly consolidate, perfect and develop human rights in Vietnam.

PHAM NGUYEN