|Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung (right) receives European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani yesterday in Ha Noi. — VNA/VNS Photo An Dang
HA NOI (VNS) — Viet Nam will create favourable conditions for European enterprises and investors to boost development co-operation in order to effectively do business in Viet Nam, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said yesterday.
The Government wished to enhance co-operation with the European Union in all fields, particularly economy, trade, investment, tourism and development assistance, Dung said.
He made the statement in Ha Noi while receiving a visiting delegation of European businesses, led by EC Vice President Antonio Tajani who doubles as European Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurs.
He stressed that Viet Nam was delighted at the development of ties between Viet Nam and the EU, noting that the two-way trade turnover had surpassed US$29 billion in 2012 and the figure was expected to increase by 15 per cent this year.
Expressing thanks to the EC for granting Viet Nam the generalised-system-of-preference (GSP) status, Dung proposed the EC actively promote the approval of the Viet Nam-EU Partnership and Co-operation Agreement (PCA).
He also recommended the two sides to continue to speed up the negotiation process to ratify the Viet Nam-EU free trade agreement next year.
Dung proposed the EU keep providing Official Assistance Development for Viet Nam.
For his part, the EC Vice President stressed that the EU wanted to foster co-operation with Viet Nam, particularly co-operation between small-and medium-sized enterprises in such fields as agricultural processing, tourism, chemicals and cosmetics.
A delegation of European businesses would continue visiting Viet Nam next year to seek opportunities to boost co-operation in these fields, he said.
Tajani added that the EU also wished to sign the EU-Viet Nam free trade agreement by the end of next year.
He said interest from European enterprises in Viet Nam is growing while meeting with Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang yesterday.
The meeting also attracted around 50 companies from the European Union (EU) looking for business opportunities to emerge from the Viet Nam – EU free trade agreement.
Viet Nam was an important destination in Southeast Asia for investments from the EU, Tajani said, stressing that bilateral trade had seen strong growth in past years.
Trade turnover between Viet Nam and the EU is expected to reach US$33 billion this year.
Hoang expressed optimism that the relationship between Viet Nam and the EU achieve new heights.
According to statistics from Viet Nam's customs agency, in the first nine months of this year, bilateral trade exceeded $24.8 billion, representing a rise of 20.8 per cent year-on-year, of which, $17.8 billion came from the Viet Nam's exports to the EU.
Currently, 23 out of 28 EU members have investment projects in Viet Nam. More than 1,800 existing investment projects have a total registered capital of over $32.8 billion with a disbursed amount reaching $13.101 billion.
VN, EU vow co-operation
Yesterday, a letter of intent between the European Union (EU) and Viet Nam on co-operation in sustainable tourism was signed between Tajani and Vietnamese Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Hoang Tuan Anh.
Through the letter, the EU and Viet Nam aim to work jointly towards the establishment of periodic dialogue and information exchange on respective initiatives in the field of tourism to ensure development of sustainability and competitiveness.
It will also promote exchanges of good practices in the development of sustainable tourism among tourism authorities and main stakeholders, notably in natural and cultural heritage preservation and promotion, small and medium-size enterprises, training, plus the improvement of tourism service quality.
The rapid development of Viet Nam's tourism sector - with a recent increase of 10.4 per cent and over 6 million foreign visitors for the year up to October 2013 - has brought substantial socio-economic developments to Vietnamese citizens. It helped establish the country as a well-recognised and important tourism destination.
To ensure continued growth and benefits in future, the sector must now focus on sustainability.
To this end, the EU is supporting Viet Nam's Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and National Administration of Tourism through the Environmentally and Socially Responsible Tourism Capacity Development Programme (ESRT) from 2011-15.
The programme aims to build capacity and strengthen the foundations of the Vietnamese tourism sector for socially and environmentally responsible growth.
So far, the ESRT programme is the largest tourism technical support programme in Viet Nam, funded by 11 million euros ($14.7 million) provided by the EU, and 1.1 million euros ($1.4 million) sourcing from the Vietnamese Government. — VNS