Major takeaways from Prime Minister's Europe tour
VGP – Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has concluded his tour to Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Belgium from December 9-15, during which many major takeaways should not be missed.
Ratification of EVIPA
During the tour, Prime Minister Pham urged the three European Union (EU) member countries to soon ratify the EU-Viet Nam Investment Protection (EVIPA) which will replace the existing 21 investment protection agreements signed between Viet Nam and the EU member countries.
EVIPA is expected to help boost the EU's investment in Viet Nam, particularly in new, high-tech and strategic fields, according to Vietnamese Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son.
In addition to EVIPA, Viet Nam the EU also signed a free trade agreement (EVFTA) on June 30, 2019. The trade deal, which came into effect in August 2020, has helped Viet Nam to gradually gain stronger foothold in the EU market despite the latter's high quality requirements and the crippling impact of the COVID-19 pandemic which started ravaging economies in early 2020.
Viet Nam's exports to the EU increased 6.2 per cent on year to US$39.75 billion in the first year after the EVFTA took effect (from August 2020 to July 2021). The modest increase was attributed to the supply chain disruption caused by the pandemic.
However, ten months into the second year of the agreement (from August 2021 to May 2022), Viet Nam Nam earned US$36.8 billion from exports to the EU, a surge of 39.17 per cent compared to the same period of the previous year as the country has adopted a flexible pandemic control and adaptation strategy.
Significant growth was seen in many of Viet Nam's key export items, for example, textile-garment (16.7 per cent), rice (42.9 per cent), pepper (81.3 per cent), aquatic products (22.7 per cent), and machinery (20.9 per cent).
The percentage of Vietnamese exporters using certification of origin to reap preferential duties provided by the EVFTA expanded from 14.62 per cent in the first ten months of 2020 to 32 per cent in the first half of 2022, more than four-fold the number of exports to signatories of the CPTPP.
In the first seven months of this year, exports rose by more than 20 per cent and the country gained a trade surplus of US$18.7 billion with the EU, a year on year surge of 41.5 per cent.
Along with EVFTA, EVIPA one taking effect will formulate a comprehensive legal framework for Viet Nam and the EU to promote trade and investment cooperation, particularly in this post-pandemic era and fast-changing world.
Specifically, EVIPA is expected to create a favorable environment for Viet Nam to attract further investment in the fields that the EU holds strengths, such as finance, telecommunications, transport, distribution, processing, high-tech manufacturing, and clean and renewable energy.
EVIPA is also expected to offer opportunities for local enterprises to acquire technologies and skills transferred by EU partners, improving the competitiveness of the national economy.
Removal of "yellow card" against Vietnamese seafood
Prime Minister Pham took every occasion to ask the European Commission (EC) to remove "yellow card" against Vietnamese seafood exports as Viet Nam has earnestly implemented the EC's recommendations to handle illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing.
In the latest move, Prime Minister Pham asked for developing a 180-day action plan to carry out the EC's recommendations to fight IUU fishing when he was presiding over a meeting with leaders of 28 coastal provinces earlier this month.
"The fight against IUU fishing must be carried out not for the sake of formality but for the sake of the people and Viet Nam's image as a responsible member of the international community in implementing international commitments, including marine environment protection," stressed the Government chief.
Expanding cooperation to new areas
Trade and investment are indeed the key topics of the Prime Minister's meetings with his counterparts and senior leaders of the three EU countries but Pham also expressed his desire that Viet Nam wishes to expand cooperation to new areas such as digital transformation, digital economy, circular economy, green economy, logistics. These areas are of the EU's strengths and Viet Nam's top priorities.
Pham himself visited the Luxembourg Stock Exchange and Brainport Industries Campus which is considered the "Silicon Valley" of Europe, in Eindhoven city of the Netherlands.
Viet Nam reached an agreement with Luxembourg on the establishment of a strategic partnership on green finance while the Netherlands and Belgium agreed to promote cooperation with Viet Nam in digital transformation, innovation, science and technology, establishment of trilateral high-tech centers.
Viet Nam and the three EU members agreed to foster close coordination and mutual support at international forums and organizations such as ASEAN-EU, ASEM, the United Nations, and the United Nations Human Rights Council when the four countries are elected to the Council in order to contribute to peace, security, cooperation and sustainable development in the two regions and the world.
On the East Sea, the leaders assured their support for maintaining security, safety and freedom of navigation and aviation in the region, for settling disputes through peaceful measures on the basis of international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and for the process of fair, substantive and effective talks on a Code of Conduct in the East Sea between ASEAN and China.
During his stay in Europe, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh attended a summit commemorating the 45th founding anniversary of ASEAN-EU relations.
Leaders of the EU and ASEAN member countries emphasized the important role and position of the two organizations, pledging to further strengthen and deepen the strategic partnership between ASEAN and the EU based on upholding international law, and fair and mutually beneficial cooperation.
Both ASEAN and the EU agreed to step up economic and trade cooperation; stabilize supply chain; cooperate in maritime security, connectivity, healthcare capacity building, digital transformation, disaster management, environment protection, climate change, energy transition, green and sustainable development.
On the occasion, the EU announced it would mobilize €10 billion (US$10.6 billion) by 2027 to accelerate infrastructure investments in ASEAN and launch the Green Team Europe initiative an initial €30 million grant from the EU budget to help ASEAN strengthen sustainable development and environmental protection.
ASEAN and the EU also agreed to enhance multilateral cooperation on the basis of shared values and interests; underscored the importance of maintaining peace, stability, security, safety, and freedom of navigation and aviation in the East Sea, settling disputes through peaceful measures; and called for full implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea and formulation of a Code of Conduct in the East Sea that is effective and substantive in accordance with international law, including the UNCLOS 1982./.