The Hanoitimes - From March 4-10, Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung has made a working visit to the EU, aiming to boost Vietnam – EU ties via lobbying for the early signing and ratification of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement.
During the visit, Dung held working sessions with officials from the EU Parliament, the European External Action Service, the European Commission Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development, the EC Directorate-General for Trade, Germany’s Foreign Ministry, the European Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the European Employers’ Organisations.
At working sessions with EU bodies, the Vietnamese and EU sides focused their discussion on the enhancement of political, trade-financial, and investment engagements. Deputy Minister Dung said Vietnam wants to deepen ties with the EU through the effective implementation of the EU-Vietnam Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Partnership and Cooperation (PCA).
He urged the acceleration of legal work for the early signing and ratification of the EU-Vietnam free trade agreement (EVFTA) and called on the EU to recognise Vietnam’s full market economy status at the time of the EVFTA signing.
The diplomat asked the EU to back Mekong sub-region cooperation and consider providing financial assistance for a cooperation project between Vietnam’s Ben Tre Province and Tulcea of Romania, making it an exemplary project in the framework of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM).
Representatives from the EC Directorate-Generals for trade and for international cooperation and development, and the European External Action Service lauded the robust growth of Vietnam-EU ties. They agreed to work closely with Vietnam in implementing the PCA, firstly by speeding up the organisation of the first meeting of the Vietnam-EU joint committee.
The EU will collaborate with Vietnam in accelerating the EVFTA signing and ratification towards its enforcement in 2018, they noted, adding that the EU is willing to provide technical support to help Vietnam make good use of opportunities brought about by the agreement.
The EU side said adjustments are being made to anti-dumping and trade subsidy regulations to ensure equal treatment among EU trade partners, including Vietnam, in relevant law suits. The sides shared concern about global climate change challenges and spent much time to discuss sustainable growth. They agreed to work together in effectively carrying out the Paris Agreement on climate change adaptation, and developing renewable energy and eco-tourism.
As part of the visit, the Vietnamese Deputy Foreign Minister met with members of the European Parliament's Committees on International Trade and Foreign Affairs. The MPs praised Vietnam’s efforts in judicial and legal reform, socio-economic development and international integration, and pledged to actively consider Vietnam’s proposals related to the EVFTA. The deputy foreign minister and his entourage also met EU scholars and representatives of business associations, who expressed their belief in the EVFTA prospects and promised to work to accelerate the pact’s signing.
In Germany, Deputy Foreign Minister Dung witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding on cooperation for 2017-2019 between the Vietnamese foreign ministry’s Department of Multilateral Economic Cooperation and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation. The deputy minister had meetings with officials from the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, during which he asked the German side to back Vietnam’s candidacy for a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council in 2020-2021 tenure.
Translated by Anh Kiet