BRUSSELS — The European Parliament’s Committee on International Trade on Wednesday held an opening hearing on the Free Trade Agreement and the Investment Protection Agreement (IPA) between Việt Nam and the European Union.
Addressing the event, head of the Vietnamese delegation to the hearing Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Trần Quốc Khánh said Việt Nam was integrating into the world and had joined many international conventions and trade partnerships.
Amid increasing protectionism, Việt Nam firmly supported multilateral relations based on consistent principles, he stressed.
While confirming Việt Nam and the EU were big partners, Khánh said the EU had helped Việt Nam in promoting development and reducing poverty, and that the two sides were moving towards a more comprehensive relationship.
He noted the benefits brought by the agreements, from boosting trade exchange and fostering investment of European countries into various spheres, to helping Việt Nam improve its standards to conform with international ones.
Helena König, chief negotiator and deputy director general for European Trade, highlighted the importance of the FTA and IPA between the EU and Việt Nam, and affirmed Việt Nam’s attractiveness, with its growing economic strength and a market of 95 million people.
König said the EU-Việt Nam FTA (EVFTA) would help European businesses enhance their competitiveness in Việt Nam. The IPA would help protect European investors doing business in Việt Nam, she said, adding Việt Nam’s commitments would better protect labourers’ rights, protect the environment and promote sustainable development.
At the event, speakers mentioned the benefits brought by the agreements and expected Việt Nam’s ratification of a new Labour Law in 2019 to serve as a legal basis for the ratification of the three fundamental conventions of the International Labour Organisation in the future, contributing to enhancing global integration capacity.
They said EVFTA was a good opportunity to expand EU-Việt Nam co-operation in forest and environment protection, as well as increase export opportunities for green products.
In an interview with a Vietnam News Agency correspondent, Chairman of the European Chamber of Commerce Nicolas Audier said the hearing was satisfactory as the two sides delivered clear messages. He noted Việt Nam had made spectacular progress in many fields, especially socio-economic development, over the last 30 years.
Under the roadmap, the EC would send a dossier to the European Council to ask for authorisation to sign the EVFTA. After signing, the agreement would be submitted to the European Parliament for approval at elections scheduled for May 2019.