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Jan 19, 2024 / 12:38

EVFTA is truly a success story: Chairman of the International Trade Committee

It is unacceptable that the ratification of the EVIPA has taken so long, said Bernd Lange.

The Vietnam-EU FTA is indeed a success story, as Bernd Lange, Chairman of the European Parliament's International Trade Committee, told a press conference in Hanoi on January 18, highlighting the achievements of the agreement three years after it entered into force.

  Julien Guerrier, European Union Ambassador to Vietnam (L) and Bernd Lange, Chairman of of the European Parliament’s Committee on International Trade. Photos: Phi Nhat

Since its inception three years ago, trade between Vietnam and the European Union has increased by more than 20%. In addition, around 71% of export tariffs on Vietnamese imports to the EU have been eliminated, while around 65% of tariffs on EU products entering Vietnam have also been removed.

During the implementation of this agreement, tariff elimination commitments have been met by both sides, the Chairman underlined.

He said discussions had taken place at the ministerial level and that the Vietnamese National Assembly needed to make further progress in the enforcement process, such as facilitating the approval of medicines.

Other factors to be considered in the implementation of this agreement include bringing benefits to the people and protecting workers' rights, he stressed.

According to the Chairman, the licensing of goods from the European Union to Vietnam must be further accelerated. This is an issue that the European Union also faces in terms of administrative procedures and needs to be expedited.

Bernd Lange affirmed that the agreements, including the EVFTA, that the EU has signed with Vietnam are important milestones in the relationship between the two parties, especially in the context of a world with many uncertainties, complexities and protectionism. This is a good basis for promoting the relationship between the two parties.

"Of course, sometimes there are controversial issues that need to be discussed. But this is possible with the National Assembly and the government in a spirit of partnership so that we can find a common solution. And I hope we will find a common solution to the outstanding issues," he said.

 Push for approval of investment protection agreement

 An overview of the press meeting.

According to the Chairman, despite the current non-ratification of EVIPA, Vietnam continues to attract significant foreign direct investment. The obstacles facing the investment sector, particularly the wind power industry, are not primarily due to the lack of EVIPA approval, but rather due to uncertainties regarding procedures, management and approval of specific investment projects.

"It is totally unacceptable that the ratification of the EVIPA has taken so long. The trade agreement (EVFTA), which covers 90% of the total relationship, is finally being ratified by the European Parliament and the EVIPA has to be ratified by the national parliaments of the 27 member states," said Bernd Lange.

"By the way, it's not just the problem with Vietnam. We also have the case of Canada. After six years, only 17 out of 27 member states have ratified the agreement. And the worst case was an agreement with Central America, which took eleven years to ratify. It's unbelievable," he said.

He also revealed that he has regular meetings with European Union trade ministers every six months. "The next meeting is on Tuesday. And I promise you, the Vietnamese people, that I will raise this issue again," Lange said.

Bernd Lange, Chairman of the European Parliament's Committee on International Trade, played a crucial role in the negotiation, ratification and implementation of the Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).

As a Member of the European Parliament and Chairman of the Committee on International Trade, he has met with Vietnamese leaders, government officials and ministries during his visits to Vietnam in recent years.