Against the backdrop of the recently published European
Union-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), which was penned last December, a
recent conference gathered in Hanoi to discuss its economic impact.
conference attracted more than 100 Government representatives from a wide
range of ministries, government authorities and provinces in addition to
contingent of leading European business leaders and companies were also in
the audience, reflecting the strong interest of the business community of
both societies in Vietnam and the trade treaty.
In a keynote
speech, H E Bruno Angelet, ambassador-head of the EU Delegation, said the
treaty represents an important milestone in the bilateral commercial,
economic and investment links between the EU and Vietnam.
said the trade agreement between the two economies and societies evidences
the EU's commitment to Southeast Asia and represents an important building
block towards an eventual similar region-to-region treaty with the
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Dr Vu Tien
Loc, president and chair of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry
(VCCI) in turn spoke about the future impact of the agreement both for
Vietnamese and foreign companies.
Mr Loc also
announced the signing of a strategic cooperation agreement between the
European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (EuroCham) and VCCI to facilitate
giving effect to the treaty.
other speakers shared their insights and thoughts about the prospects for
enhanced trade, investment, growth and employment with the audience.
the import tariff scheme currently in place between the two economies is to
be largely phased out over a seven to ten-year period, which should provide a
boon for business interests on both sides.
was intended to help trigger a new wave of high quality investment in both
directions, they said, supported by an updated permanent investment dispute
As to the
types of investment we would most likely see in the future as a result of the
new treaty they said to expect heavy involvement from EU companies in
large-scale privatizations of Vietnamese State-owned enterprises.
Commission (EC) is already promoting the new deal by noting that EU companies
will be able to bid for public contracts with Vietnamese ministries including
for infrastructure such as roads and ports, power distribution companies,
railways, and 34 public hospitals.
investors, in particular, are poised to become involved in the metro rail
project for Ho Chi Minh City and massive pavement projects scheduled for
roads across the country.
companies will look to invest in Vietnam’s largely undeveloped mineral
resources, especially bauxite (a key raw material necessary for the
production of aluminum).
For many in
the EU and Vietnam, opportunity awaits.