The Hanoitimes - "Green light" has been turned on, the Europe-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement is getting straight to the European Parliament and is expected to be realized in early 2019.
Sharing with reporters about this important agreement, EU Ambassador to Vietnam Bruno Angelet insists that there are no big barriers on both sides for EVFTA.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc's visit to the Europe from 14th-21th October welcomed good news of the EU – Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA). How do you assess the results of the recent visit involving EVFTA?
EU Ambassador to Vietnam Bruno Angelet
The recent visit of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc to Belgium as well as the meeting between the Prime Minister and the European Commission’s President Jean-Claude Juncker took place very timely. The two sides expressed their affirmation that they would be willing to sign and approve the EVFTA. The two leaders also discuss next steps to implement the contents of the EVFTA.
Two days before the meeting with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, President Jean-Claude Juncker assured the European Commission to unify the text of the agreement as well as transfered the content of the document to the member countries which turn green light for the EVFTA to be signed in the coming time. It can be said that during this visit, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has witnessed the very high commitment of the EU in promoting the process of realizing the EVFTA.
During the visit, President Jean Claude Junker emphasized that the EVFTA is a good example of the EU's current trade policy, bringing unprecedented benefits to businesses and people in Europe and Vietnam. Can you specify the benefits of the EU from this agreement?
It has been almost 30 years since the two sides established diplomatic relations in 1990. Previously, we focused on partnership for aid development. Nowadays, Vietnam has become a middle income country with a rapidly growing economy and deep integration into the world economy. Therefore, the EU wants to help Vietnam to improve its governance, public administration with an aim to become a more credible international partner. We also want to work with Vietnam to promote international rule of law and share the global agenda.
In addition, we want to strengthen our partnership with Vietnam in the context of the fact that Vietnam is a member of ASEAN. In ASEAN, we have had two FTAs, one with Singapore which was just signed last week and the other with Vietnam that is expected to be signed in early 2019. This is the way we can commit to the whole ASEAN region - an important partner of the EU. Besides, the EU expects from Vietnam and ASEAN, EU can expand its relationship with the Asian region as many nations are showing signs of power abuse.
The 2019 milestone is not far, are there any major barriers on the both sides which create the risk of the EVFTA approval?
I do not see any major barriers to the signing of the EVFTA. EVFTA documents have recently been submitted to the Council of the Europe so that member states can consider and turn on “the green light” for the agreement’s signing in the next three months.
However, there exists one important challenge that the European Parliament must consider to ratify this agreement. EVFTA needs a majority vote in the European Parliament, so we have to persuade Europeans who are reluctant to follow the signing process. They think that the agreement is too ambitious for Vietnam to do.
But above all, if there is enough political will and determination, I think that the review and ratification of the agreement will be favorable and possible in time for early 2019 technically.
Thank you very much!