OTTAWA — As a signatory to a number of crucial trade agreements, Việt Nam serves as a gateway for Canadian businesses to approach the whole Asian region, according to a former Canadian official.
“Việt Nam now more than ever before should be looked at as an investment destination for Canadian companies who want to have access to the broader Asian region,” said former Premier of Quebec Jean Charest.
He made the statement referring to the fact that Việt Nam is a country that is part of the CPTPP, the Pacific countries, the 11 countries of strong economic growth and now part of the recently-signed RCEP.
RCEP, or the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, was signed on November 15 at the ASEAN 37 Summit hosted by the Vietnamese Government. With 15 member countries, RCEP makes up of 30 per cent of the world's GDP and US$26 trillion worth of business.
RCEP is going to be the new centre of the supply chain in the whole Asian area. For Canadian businesses, this really offers a new perspective in investing in Việt Nam, said Charest during an interview with a Vietnam News Agency correspondent based in Canada.
As a signatory of various new-generation free trade agreements, Việt Nam is considered a link facilitating Canadian goods to reach a market with more than 630 million consumers in ASEAN.
According to Charest, both Canada and Việt Nam haven't taken full advantage of the CPTPP (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) which took effect on December 30, 2018.
"CPTPP and the relationship between Việt Nam and Canada is way below the potential of what it could be," he said.
"I am delighted to participate in discussions about the relationship between Việt Nam and Canada, especially in the framework of the CPTPP which has now been in force for the last couple of years."
"We have seen a real increase in trade which is very encouraging, and this trade by the way is favourable to Việt Nam. We have seen in the areas of agri-food and manufacturing, but there are new areas in which there should be investment."
With that in mind, he suggested infrastructure or other areas like healthcare and health education that both countries could work together and could do much more.
Asked about the perspective for the two sides' future relationship, he emphasised a few significant changes in both countries.
"In Canada, we have just renewed what we called the NAFTA which is the new trade agreement between the United States, Canada and Mexico. This has secured our access to the American market, which is the richest market in the world. Vietnamese companies that invest in Canada will have access to both the United States and Mexico. That is a very positive change from the Canadian side."
Though it is Canada's largest trading partner in ASEAN, the trade value between Việt Nam and Canada currently accounts for only 0.7 per cent of the total annual trade turnover of the North American country. — VNS