|EU’s chief negotiator Mauro Petriccione speaks at the EVFTA workshop in Brussels on Thursday. — Photo VNA|Viet Nam News
BRUSSELS — The European Union (EU) wants to ratify the EU-Việt Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) in 2018 and put it into force as soon as possible, the EU’s chief negotiator Mauro Petriccione has said.
He made the remark at an EVFTA workshop in Brussels on Thursday. The event, held by the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (EuroCham) and the Confederation of European Business, attracted nearly 100 participants, including representatives of EU and Vietnamese agencies and European business leaders in Việt Nam.
Petriccione said FTAs will be a highlight in an upcoming message from European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
The early signing of FTAs between the EU and its partners is essential, he said, describing the EVFTA as a high-quality agreement and a pillar in the union’s trade strategy in Southeast Asia.
Vietnamese Ambassador to Belgium Vương Thừa Phong assessed European businesses’ support for the EVFTA as important, stressing that amid changes in the world, timing is crucial, so the parties need to make efforts to soon enforce the deal.
At the workshop, enterprises affirmed the importance of the agreement to win-win economic and trade co-operation. They agreed that the EVFTA will aid not only Vietnamese firms but also companies and people of Europe.
Many speakers said with a population of nearly 100 million and fast and stable economic growth, Việt Nam is an especially promising market. They also lauded the opportunities generated by the EVFTA.
Jean-Jacques Bouflet, a member of the EuroCham Executive Committee, noted the improvement in Việt Nam’s investment climate, adding that investment-related legal reforms and administrative procedure simplification have created a better business environment.
EuroCham supports Việt Nam’s willingness in administrative procedure modernisation to facilitate investment attraction. Once enforced, the EVFTA will become an effective tool to protect EU and Vietnamese firms when they do business in each other’s markets, he said.
Alann Bouvot, CEO of Sodex Sport Vietnam, said he had witnessed improvements in the local investment climate after 26 years investing in the country’s Nha Trang city, saying Vietnam has a stable political situation and investors can easily talk with local authorities.
Sodex invested in a new production facility in 2017, which showed his firm’s belief in a promising future in Việt Nam, he noted.
Aside from slashing tariffs, the EVFTA will also bring about other benefits in terms of the environment, administrative procedure improvement, and facilitation of export-import companies.
EU enterprises are eager for the harmonisation of Việt Nam’s procedures with European criteria, Bouvot said, adding that he hopes the EVFTA will be ratified and take effect soon. — VNS