HA NOI (VNS)— Speedier negotiations between Viet Nam and the EU on a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) would hasten the economic benefits for both sides, a conference heard yesterday.
Speaking at the event, co-organised by the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the Dutch Embassy in Ha Noi, economic advisers said, "currently only 42 percent of Vietnamese exports to the EU enjoy a zero per cent tax rate while approximately 80-85 percent of exports to Malaysia are tax free."
If the FTA took effect, up to 90 percent of Vietnamese enterprises would enjoy a zero per cent tax rate, they said, adding that it would also encourage two-way investment between the EU and Viet Nam.
The EU has become one of Viet Nam's leading partners in trade and investment, said Nguyen Duc Thuong, deputy head of the European Market Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
Two-way trade increased significantly in recent years, from US$4.1 billion in 2000 to $24.3 billion in 2011. Vietnamese exports to the bloc, including footwear, textile and garment, seafood, coffee and wooden goods, have experienced six-fold increases over the 11-year period.
Conversely, the first half of this year has seen EU businesses pump $160 million into 50 new projects in Viet Nam.
Technologically advanced European investors have made a great contribution to creating new industries and new products with high technology content, Thuong said, adding that the EU investment focused mainly on high-tech industries such as telecommunications, finance, office rental and retail.
Despite the encouraging export turnover, Vietnamese exporters have still encountered challenges in accessing the EU market due to information shortages and anti-dumping taxes imposed on several Vietnamese goods, said VCCI vice chairman Doan Duy Khuong.
Viet Nam's investment in the EU remained modest and was mostly limited to the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Germany, Khuong said. — VNS