European Union and Vietnamese flags fly at the signing ceremony of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement at Vietnam’s Government Office in Hanoi on June 30, 2019

The minister was speaking at a press briefing in Hanoi on Wednesday, shortly after the European Parliament approved the free trade pact, which the EU described as "the most ambitious free trade deal ever concluded with a developing country," reported the Vietnam News Agency.

Anh noted that Vietnam is waiting for the European Council to ratify the deal as a final procedure while the next sitting of Vietnam’s National Assembly, slated to take place in April and May, will see Party General Secretary and State President Nguyen Phu Trong present the deal to the legislative body, based on the Government’s proposal.

The deal will open up an opportunity to fuel Vietnam’s economic growth and its manufacturing and export sectors as well as meet the needs of the local business community and consumers, he said.

The trade ministry is working with other ministries to prepare the necessary documents, which will be sent to the State President for consideration before the National Assembly meets.

Also, the ministry is reviewing an action plan for the execution of the EVFTA. Once the trade pact is ratified, the plan will be adopted. 

The regulatory framework should be amended to ensure compatibility with the action plan, according to the minister.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade plans to work with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to restructure agricultural production in the long run so that their products can meet stringent technical requirements in EU markets.

The ministry pledged to resume negotiations, especially certification systems for plants and animals, in an attempt to expand export markets and boost the consumption of goods worth up to US$300 billion prioritized by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

The minister stressed that the growing number of trade incentives also entails increased risks of origin and trade fraud. Therefore, the country’s institutional capacity needs to be strengthened and outlined in the action agenda.

“Economic and trade benefits, and many other benefits, will spread widely to all other areas, bringing prosperity and progress to the people. That is something no one can deny,” pointed out Anh.

He noted it is only a question of how Vietnam will carry out this agreement so that the deal can benefit the people on both sides most and ensure that a new integration framework will not leave anyone behind.

He called the agreement a “significant milestone” in the country's relations with the EU. Garment, footwear and wood furniture industries will be the chief Vietnamese beneficiaries.

The deal will eliminate a whopping 99% of tariffs, though Vietnam will have a transitional period of up to 10 years for some imports, such as cars and beer.

Reuters reported that many Vietnamese goods already benefit from preferential access to EU markets under a scheme offered to developing countries. However, this applies to duties on two-thirds of product types and tariffs still apply, albeit at lower rates, to garments. SGT

EVFTA, EVIPA unleash market potential for European firms

EVFTA, EVIPA unleash market potential for European firms

The EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement and the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement offer significant business opportunities for European enterprises, German Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier said.

EU lawmakers approve free trade deal with Vietnam

EU lawmakers approve free trade deal with Vietnam

The European Parliament (EP) on February 12 ratified the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA).