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Nov 25, 2023 / 14:52

Vietnam wants to elevate partnership status with EU

The soon ratification of the Vietnam-EU Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA) is expected to usher in a new phase in bilateral trade and investment cooperation.

Vietnam urges the European Union (EU) to explore the possibility of upgrading the bilateral comprehensive partnership to ensure greater benefits for all parties involved.

 Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and EU Ambassador to Vietnam Julien Guerrier. Photos: Nhat Bac/VGP

“Both sides should further increase delegation exchange at all levels, continue to promote existing cooperation and dialogue mechanisms, propose new measures to foster collaboration, and remove obstacles,” Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh shared the view during a meeting with EU Ambassador to Vietnam Julien Guerrier on November 24.

Emphasis should be placed on the effective deployment of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and urging the remaining 10 member countries of the bloc to ratify the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA) for transformative breakthroughs in trade and investment cooperation, he noted.

During the meeting, the Prime Minister and the Ambassador expressed their satisfaction with the current favorable state of Vietnam-EU relations, which have achieved positive outcomes across various domains. In political and diplomatic realms, there has been a notable strengthening of delegation exchanges and high-level contacts, with close coordination observed at multilateral forums.

Economically, the EU is Vietnam's third-largest export market, fifth-largest import market, and sixth-largest investor. Notably, Vietnam holds the position of the EU's largest trading partner within ASEAN, with two-way trade expected to reach $62.4 billion in 2022.

Chinh suggested that the effective implementation of the Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) has contributed to the positive growth of bilateral trade. Furthermore, the pending ratification of the Vietnam-EU Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA) is expected to catalyze a new phase in trade and investment cooperation, he noted.

Defense and security cooperation has expanded through the execution of the Agreement establishing a framework for Vietnam's participation in EU crisis management activities (Framework Participation Agreement).

 Overview of the meeting. 

Notably, the establishment of the JETP between Vietnam and the International Partnership Group reflects a bright spot in recent cooperative efforts, particularly in responding to climate change, Chinh added.

In outlining Vietnam's socioeconomic situation, national development path, and foreign and defense policies, the Prime Minister highlighted Vietnam as a model of recovery and healing the wounds of war, emphasizing a forward-looking perspective. The Prime Minister underscored Vietnam's crucial priority to enhancing relations with the EU, a key partner.

In the coming time, Chinh called for the EU to offer extensive assistance in financial resources, technological advancements, institutional enhancements, and training for human resources. The goal is to collaboratively address global challenges, with a particular emphasis on environmental protection and the collective response to climate change.

“Priority should be given to the successful execution of the Political Declaration that establishes the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP), as well as aiding Vietnam in executing the one million hectare high-quality, low-emission rice program in the Mekong Delta, and promoting renewable energy initiatives,” said Chinh.

The Prime Minister underscored Vietnam's active endorsement of the EU's green and sustainable development initiatives, particularly the application of green standards to goods, aligning with the commitment to execute stated objectives.

Additionally, he urged the European Commission (EC) to promptly consider removing the "yellow card" on Vietnam's seafood exports, recognizing Vietnam's efforts in combating illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

The Prime Minister acknowledged the challenges and differences in progress due to the different levels of development between Vietnam and the EU in fisheries management capacity and fishermen's livelihoods. He also advocated for the promotion of cooperation in sustainable marine economic development, encompassing modern, sustainable fisheries, aquaculture, logistics development, offshore wind power, and the responsible exploitation of marine resources, while ensuring security, safety, and freedom of navigation.

Affirming Vietnam's support of the EU's growing role in the region, the Prime Minister consistently expressed support for strengthening ASEAN-EU relations and the EU's engagement in regional cooperation mechanisms, with ASEAN at the forefront.

Expressing Vietnam's long-standing friendship, Ambassador Julien Guerrier conveyed his appreciation for Vietnam's development principles and policies, particularly highlighting the Prime Minister's stance against sacrificing progress and social justice for mere economic growth.

The Ambassador praised Vietnam's achievements, future development goals, and its commitment to addressing climate change. He also acknowledged Vietnam's active support for the EU's green standards and its potential to become a leader in implementing  Them.

Emphasizing the commonalities between Vietnam and the EU, the Ambassador identified significant potential for collaboration, especially during Vietnam's upcoming development phase.

He pledged the EU's continued support for Vietnam in achieving its development objectives, such as becoming a developed, high-income country by 2045 and attaining net-zero emissions by 2050. The Ambassador committed to close coordination with authorities on both sides to implement collaborative activities in priority areas, including trade, investment, climate change response (with an initial focus on support at the upcoming COP28 Summit), and infrastructure development, along with human resources training.

In discussions on international and regional concerns, the EU Ambassador reiterated support for ASEAN's position on ensuring security, safety, and freedom of aviation and navigation in the East Sea. He urged the resolution of disputes through peaceful means, by international law, notably the United Nations Charter and UNCLOS 1982.

The Ambassador sought Vietnam's active support for EU initiatives contributing to addressing global challenges.