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COVID-19 affects Vietnamese businesses in benefiting from EVFTA

Update: June, 19/2020 - 15:55
Tuyên Quang JSC workers make wooden goods for export to the EU. — VNA/VNS Photo Vũ Sinh

HÀ NỘI — Although the Europe-Việt Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) is great news for Vietnamese businesses, they should not expect too much as the COVID-19 pandemic is still raging in Europe.

This statement was made by Đỗ Thắng Hải, deputy minister of Industry and Trade, at a recent seminar on the EVFTA in Hà Nội.

He also said that the ministry had built a detailed scenario for each industry and commodity in the context of economies affected by COVID-19.

Vũ Tiến Lộc, VCCI chairman, said that when the world market demand declines, obstacles would be huge for Vietnamese businesses to be able to sell products and goods.

Besides, many global supply chains had not yet been put back into operation, which affects Vietnamese businesses, he said.

“It is difficult to sustain business in such conditions if firms do not diversify sources of goods and markets. The coming months will continue to be difficult,” Lộc said.

The chairman of the VCCI added: "In order to benefit from these markets, our goods must meet high requirements of labour and environmental protection, and meet rules of origin and raw materials.

As an enterprise with more than 10 years’ experience in exporting wood products to the European market, Vũ Hải Bằng, chairman of the board of directors and general director of Woodsland Joint Stock Company, said that to work with the European market, it requires long-term preparation and an overall strategy.

The EVFTA would create more trust from customers towards Vietnamese wooden products, he said.

Bằng said that the European side assessed many angles, including legal factors, environmental protection, and labour protection.

For some large European businesses, in addition to the usual requirements of origin, they also have higher standards such as chain management, FSC forest management certification for wood materials and more, he said.

National Assembly deputies officially ratified the EVFTA and the Europe-Việt Nam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA) this month.

The two agreements are expected to give Vietnamese companies better access to European markets and help Việt Nam strengthen its important political and economic position in the Southeast Asian and Asia-Pacific regions, heightening the nation’s status in ASEAN and other international organisations. — VNS

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