The Hanoitimes - Vietnam and the European Union (EU) made another move pushing their free trade agreement and Investment Protection Agreement (IPA) into place, during Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s visit to Europe.
The European Commission (EC) on October 17 agreed to submit the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) to the European Council for its signing approval (expected late 2018) and to the European Parliament (EP) for ratification in 2019.
At a press conference, the EU affirmed its commitment to putting the pact in place as soon as possible.
The meeting between Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Chairman of the EP’s International Trade Committee Bernd Lange (Photo: VGP)
The EC’s adoption of the EVFTA ahead of the 12th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit, which takes place on October 18, has shown all sides’ efforts to step up connectivity between Asia and Europe.
During his trip, PM Phuc alslo met with other European leaders and businesspeople, and delivered speeches at business forums, calling for the implementation of these documents.
Specifically, during his meeting with Bernd Lange, chairman of the EP’s International Trade Committee, Phuc lauded the role and contributions of Lange to enhancing the partnership between Vietnam and the EU in general and between the Vietnamese National Assembly and the EP in particular.
Lange expressed his delight at the EC’s decision to send the EVFTA to the European Council for signing, saying this is an important step so the EP can begin the ratification process.
He affirmed his support for all-round cooperation between Vietnam and the EU.
In a press release, the EU cited EC President Jean-Claude Juncker as saying that the trade and investment agreements with Vietnam are exemplary of Europe's trade policy. “By adopting them a few hours before welcoming the participants to the ASEM Summit in Brussels, the commission shows its commitment to open trade and engagement with Asia,” Juncker said.
The EC president also said he expects the EP and EU member states to work to ensure the agreements enter into force as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, EC Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström said Vietnam has massive potential for EU exporters and investors to do business, both now and in the future. It is one of the fastest-growing economies in Southeast Asia, with a vibrant market of more than 95 million consumers, an emerging middle class and a young, dynamic workforce.
“Through our agreements, we also help spread European high standards and create possibilities for in-depth discussions on human rights and the protection of citizens”, she added.
Once authorized by the Council, the agreements will be signed and presented to the European Parliament for consent. Once the European Parliament has given its consent, the trade agreement can then be concluded by the Council and enter into force. The investment protection agreement with Vietnam will be ratified by member states according to their respective internal procedures.