Vietnam-EU Trade, Cooperation Discussed

The foreign-invested economic sector is an important component of Vietnam's economy and the Vietnamese Government always protects the legitimate and legitimate rights and interests of investors.

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The meeting between Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son (R) and the EU-ABC and EuroCham delegation in Hanoi on February 15. Photo: VNA
The meeting between Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son (R) and the EU-ABC and EuroCham delegation in Hanoi on February 15. Photo: VNA

Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son received a delegation of the EU-ASEAN Business Council (EU-ABC) and the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (EuroCham) in Hanoi on February 15, affirming that his ministry will actively work with other ministries and sectors to promote bilateral trade and investment links.

Stressing the importance Vietnam attaches to relations with the EU, the host official expressed his delight that the two sides’ comprehensive partnership and cooperation have been flourishing.

He appreciated the assistance the EU and its member state had given to Vietnam’s socio-economic development.

The EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) has been implemented for more than two years, creating an impulse for bilateral trade and encouraging EU businesses to expand investment in Vietnam, he went on, adding that the EU is currently the fifth largest trading and investment partner of the Southeast Asian country.

With regard to the cooperation between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the EU, Son said Vietnam always supports their strategic partnership, suggesting the two regions maximise the cooperation potential in trade, investment, digital transformation, green industry, energy transition, and climate change response.

The minister highly valued the role of the EU-ABC and EuroCham as bridges for European businesses’ cooperation with ASEAN and Vietnam.

He asked the EU-ABC and EuroCham to continue supporting Vietnam and the EU to effectively carry out the EVFTA to capitalise on advantages created by the deal; promote EU members’ ratification of the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA); identify cooperation priorities in the fields matching the EU’s strength and Vietnam’s demand like climate change response, energy transition, circular economy, transport, and aviation; and encourage European firms to make green growth investments in Vietnam.

On behalf of the EU-ABC and EuroCham, EU-ABC Vice Chairman Jens Ruebbert, who is also Managing Director & Regional Head Asia/Pacific at Landesbank Baden-Wuerttemberg, applauded the progress in the ASEAN-EU and Vietnam-EU relations, noting that the EU-ABC and EuroCham have been making unceasing efforts to connect European companies with ASEAN countries, including Vietnam.

He shared the view that the EVFTA and EVIPA are important driving forces for bilateral economic, trade, and investment ties in the coming time.

The EU-ABC and EuroCham will stand side by side with the Vietnamese Government in promoting ASEAN-EU and Vietnam-EU economic cooperation priorities, and encourage European firms to increase investment and business in the country, Ruebbert added.

At the meeting, Minister Son stated the Vietnamese Government will create the best possible conditions for foreign investors, including those from Europe.

The foreign-invested economic sector is an important component of Vietnam's economy and the Vietnamese Government always protects the legitimate and legitimate rights and interests of investors, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh said on February 14. Photo: VNA
The foreign-invested economic sector is an important component of Vietnam’s economy and the Vietnamese Government always protects the legitimate and legitimate rights and interests of investors, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh said on February 14. Photo: VNA

Previous, on February 14, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh held a reception for a delegation of the EU-ASEAN Business Council and the EuroCham to discuss measures to promote economic, trade and investment relations between Vietnam and the EU.

The PM affirmed Vietnam always advocates further deepening the comprehensive partnership and cooperation with EU and the strategic partnership between ASEAN and the EU.

He suggested that EU investors and businesses continue to accompany Vietnam in implementing three strategic breakthroughs, promoting three main drivers of the country’s economic development, namely investment, export and consumption; helping Vietnam access green and high-tech financial investment sources, serving the needs of sustainable development in areas such as digital transformation, green transformation, circular economy, infrastructure development, high-quality human resources training and diversification of markets, products and supply chains.

In order to effectively implement the cooperative relations between Vietnam and the EU as well as between the ASEAN and the EU in the coming time, the PM called on Vietnamese and EU businesses to jointly make efforts to effectively implement the EVFTA and push the remaining EU member states to soon ratify the EVIPA and the EU to remove the ‘yellow card’ relating to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing imposed on seafood products from Vietnam. At present, 12 out of 27 EU members have ratified the EVIPA.

The delegates expressed their pleasure that the EU has become the fifth largest trading partner and the third largest export market of Vietnam while the Southeast Asian nation is the EU’s largest trading partner in ASEAN. In particular, the EVFTA is an important driving force for two-way trade between Vietnam and the EU to continuously increase. Trade turnover between Vietnam and the EU reached USD 62.4 billion in 2022, an increase of 9.8% compared to 2021.

Jens Ruebbert, Vice Chairman of the EU – ASEAN Business Council said that the participation of more than 50 leaders of large enterprises in the delegation reflects the importance of Vietnam.

EuroCham Chairman Alain Cany expressed his belief in the outcome of the implementation of the EVFTA in the coming time and affirmed that EU businesses will actively promote the ratification of the EVIPA.

Chairman of the National Assembly Vuong Dinh Hue (centre) has a working session with a delegation of the EU-ASEAN Business Council (EU-ABC) and the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (EuroCham) in Hanoi on February 14. Photo: VNA
Chairman of the National Assembly Vuong Dinh Hue (centre) has a working session with a delegation of the EU-ASEAN Business Council (EU-ABC) and the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (EuroCham) in Hanoi on February 14. Photo: VNA

The same day, Chairman of the National Assembly Vuong Dinh Hue had a working session with a delegation of the EU-ABC and the EuroCham, with representatives from nearly 50 businesses and groups.

Managing Director & Regional Head Asia/Pacific at Landesbank Baden-Wuerttemberg, Jens Ruebbert, and EuroCham Chairman Alain Cany, co-heads of the delegation, affirmed that European businesses are interested in the Vietnamese market and consider Vietnam a leading country and a pioneer in Asia-Pacific, especially Southeast Asia.

Vietnam holds great potential for development, with a growth rate of over 8% last year, they said, calling the country a destination of investment and trade for nations worldwide.

Cany expressed his hope to assist Vietnam in realising its net zero emission target by 2050 in terms of policy and law making, technology transfer and access to capital.

Regarding green transition and the net zero emission target, representatives from the EU firms said they want to study Vietnam’s strategy and legal framework, and implement offshore wind power and renewable energy projects in the country.

They were also interested in Vietnam’s incentives towards access to new medicines and modern medical services.

After studying Vietnam’s support plan for digital transformation, and relevant investment activities, the businesses hoped to invest human resources in the field. They also affirmed their support for ASEAN’s economic integration.

The NA Chairman said that he hoped the ASEAN-EU Business Council would continue creating a reliable bridge and actively supporting EU businesses and investors to invest in ASEAN in general and the Vietnamese market in particular.

He affirmed that the National Assembly of Vietnam, in all its decisions including those in the legislation, supreme supervision, and national issues, are all for the sake of rapid and sustainable development, promoting the increasingly proactive and effective integration of Vietnam into the region and the world.

The NA always puts people and businesses, both domestic and foreign enterprises, at the centre of every decision, he said.

Emphasising that foreign investors’ successes are Vietnam’s successes, Hue said that Vietnam has shifted its focus from attracting FDI to a strategy of cooperation and partnership in foreign investment.

“Vietnam will continue to implement a consistent policy to improve and enhance the quality of the business and investment environment, and is determined to improve its competitiveness, productivity, and efficiency of its economy,” Hue said.

Appreciating the strong development in trade relations between Vietnam and the EU over the past time, despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, and uncertainties of the world’s complicated situation, Hue said that maintaining supply chains, strengthening cooperation with existing markets and expanding new markets are the right choices of countries.

The NA Chairman also shared with EU investors about Vietnam’s socio-economic development achievements in 2022, with important contributions of the National Assembly.

The leader used this occasion to call on European investors to actively engage in the process, contributing to building a digital ecosystem for digital transformation in Vietnam.

Regarding just energy transition, Hue said Vietnam hopes to cooperate with EU firms in mobilising green finance and ensuring interest-cost balance during the transition process.

He suggested EU-ABC and EuroCham encourage remaining countries in the EU to soon ratify the EVIPA and remove the “yellow card” imposed on Vietnam’s seafood, thus benefiting businesses, farmers and consumers of the two sides.

Hannah Nguyen