The recent ratification of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA) by the European Parliament (EP) has both strategic and economic importance in the relations between Vietnam and the European Union (EU), Permanent Deputy Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son has said.
|Permanent Deputy Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son
In an interview granted to Vietnam News Agency correspondents in Paris on February 12, Son further said the ratification has opened up new horizons for more intensive, comprehensive and effective bilateral cooperation 30 years after the establishment of diplomatic ties.
The EP has given the green light for the implementation of the EVFTA and created a premise for EU member states to consider and ratify the EVIPA, he added.
The diplomat said the approval of the two agreements with a high number of votes in favour illustrated the great importance and high valuation EU members and parliamentarians give to the role and position of Vietnam and the EU-Vietnam comprehensive cooperative partnership.
The two deals are expected to create long-term bilateral cooperation frameworks towards equality, mutual benefits, and contributions to promoting international economic connectivity and sustainable development, Son said.
The ratification also affirmed the EU’s policy of continuously strengthening cohesion with Asia-Pacific in general and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in particular.
As the ASEAN Chair in 2020, Vietnam is ready to promote multi-faceted cooperation between the EU and ASEAN, he said.
The EP’s vote to ratify the EVFTA and EVIPA at the beginning of its new tenure indicates huge mutual economic benefits, Son said, adding that the EVFTA will create opportunities for EU businesses to access the market of a population of nearly 100 million in Vietnam and penetrate other ASEAN markets.
The approval of the first high-quality FTA between the EU and a developing country shows the union’s determination to promote rules-based trade and investment liberalisation. This is significant in the context of increasing protectionism, he added.
The EP ratified the EVFTA and EVIPA on February 12. The EVIPA was passed with 407 votes for, 188 against and 53 abstentions; and the EVFTA, with 401, 192 and 40, respectively.
According to research by the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the two deals will help Vietnam increase its GDP by 4.6 percent and its exports to the EU by 42.7 percent by 2025. Meanwhile, the European Commission has projected the EU’s GDP to increase by 29.5 billion USD and its exports to Vietnam by 29 percent by 2035.