The signing of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA) marks a new step of developing the comprehensive partnership and cooperation between the two sides initiated in 2012.
|Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung at the signing of the EVFTA and EVIPA.
The event also demonstrates the EU’s recognition of and appreciation for Vietnam’s position and role in the region and the world as a dynamic economy, willing to reform for integration.
The EVFTA and EVIPA inked in Hanoi on June 30 are highly significant in bolstering the economic link between the ASEAN economic community and the EU as well as helping to stimulate the global economy.
These are two new-generation and high-quality agreements which are well-balanced for both sides. They are expected to accelerate Vietnam’s reform process and international integration, not only in the area of trade but also in institutional and administrative reforms, improving the investment climate, intellectual property, government procurement, labour, sustainable development and building the Vietnamese economy in accordance with market principles and good international practices, especially those of the EU.
Once these agreements are implemented, Vietnamese people and businesses will have access to high-quality products and services with European standards and competitive prices from EU economies. The positive impacts on the two sides have been discussed extensively. Here I want to put more focus on the EVIPA and on investment cooperation between Vietnam and the EU.
In the area of investment cooperation, over the past 30 years, Vietnam has signed and implemented 21 bilateral agreements on investment protection and encouragement with countries in the EU. And now Vietnam has signed the EVIPA with the EU. With comprehensive and more balanced commitments on investment protection, along with important commitments on opening up the market for goods, services, investment, government procurement, intellectual property under the EVFTA, the EVIPA will definitely make a major contribution to strengthening the confidence of foreign investors and EU investors in particular on the appeal, safety, friendliness and competitiveness of the business and investment climate in Vietnam.
Vietnam always highly appreciates the position, role and potential of EU investors in terms of capital, technology and management capacity. Therefore, the Vietnamese government has grounds to firmly believe that the signing of the EVIPA will help attract high-quality investments from the EU and facilitate Vietnamese investors to access the EU market.
This is completely in line with Vietnam’s foreign investment attraction policy in times ahead, which shifts from quantity to quality. The country will prioritise projects with high value, advanced technology, modern administration and those which are connected with global supply chains and the domestic sector. Attracting foreign investment must also come in line with economic restructuring and growth renewal in order to increase productivity and competitiveness, ensuring the goals of sustainable development, environmental protection and social justice.
However, besides these opportunities, Vietnam is faced with a number of challenges during the implementation of the agreement in terms of institutions, policies, the management mechanism, infrastructure, the level of technology and human resources, and the capacity and competitiveness of Vietnamese enterprises.
In order to realise the opportunities and benefits from implementing these agreements, the government is directing a review and fine-tuning institutions, investment and business policies, in addition to measures to develop high-quality human resources, improve infrastructure and enhance the competitiveness of Vietnamese enterprises and the entire economy.
Specifically, the government will review and proposed revisions to or formulate a number of important laws such as the Investment Law, the Law on Enterprises, the Law on Investment under Public-Private Partnerships, the Land Law, the Construction Law, the Law on Environmental Protection, the Labour Code and several tax laws.
The fine-tuning of these laws is aimed at simplifying the procedures and facilitating market participation of enterprises, including foreign-invested ones. It is also expected to help perfect the mechanisms and policies to attract the private sector to invest in infrastructure projects and provide public services.
Furthermore, the government also encourages Vietnamese enterprises to proactively apply advanced technologies to enhance the quality of their products and services, meeting European standards, increasing the competitiveness of their products in order to participate in the European market rapidly and without difficulty.
The above-mentioned measures are expected to strongly improve the investment and business environment in Vietnam and ensure that the EVFTA and EVIPA are implemented in the most quickest, efficient and substantive way.