Europe eyes Vietnam investments

European investors are eyeing further investments in Vietnam, the Ambassador and Head of the European Union (EU) Delegation to the country, Bruno Angelet said.

Vietnamese airlines spends a lot of money buying aircraft from EU. The EU is currently the second biggest trade partner of Vietnam, with bilateral trade hitting 19.4 billion USD in the first half of this year. (Source: VNA)

Angelet made the announcement at a recent press conference in Hanoi, after negotiations on the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) were officially concluded in Brussels, Belgium on December 2.

He said many European investors are awaiting further improvement in Vietnam's macro-economic policies and investment environment for a suitable time to pour capital into the country.

While the EVFTA is expected to be signed soon and will take effect in 2018, the conclusion of the negotiations will help the country speed up its economic restructuring and growth model innovation process, for better integration into the global economy, he said.

Angelet said the investment influx from the European Union (EU) to Vietnam has witnessed dramatic progress. The EU became the third largest investor here during the first half of this year, rising from the sixth position registered last year.

The Vietnam News Agency reported that as of the end of June 23, 28 EU member countries registered investments worth over US$ 38.4 billion, and they were active in most key economic sectors of Vietnam, especially in industrial development, construction and services.

Angelet noted that both European and Vietnamese enterprises should work out appropriate investment roadmaps and business strategies to maximise the benefits related to taxes and markets that the EVFTA brings about.

Following the agreement, Vietnam and the EU will eliminate duties on more than 99 percent of tariff lines, while ensuring favourable and open investment environment to facilitate capital flows.

The two sides are especially committed to facilitating the import and export of their key products, such as Vietnam's garment and textile, footwear, farm produce, seafood and timber products, and the EU's machinery, equipment, and automobiles, in addition to alcoholic beverages and agricultural products.

Bilateral commitments related to government procurement, intellectual property protection, investment dispute settlement, and small and medium-sized enterprise assistance are expected to open up opportunities for both sides to make inroads in each other's market.

Earlier this year, the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam released promising figures about future European investments in the country, via its second-quarter business climate index survey.

Forty-one percent of the European businesses polled by the chamber said they will increase investments in Vietnam, while 39 percent said they will maintain their current investment levels.

European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstrom said the Vietnamese economy shows significant growth potential with more than 93 million consumers.

She emphasised that the Vietnamese market will particularly facilitate agricultural and industrial products of EU member countries, as well as their service sectors.

The EVFTA will play an important role in helping Vietnam ensure sustained development while accelerating economic growth in the future, she added.

According to official data, the EU is currently the second biggest trade partner of Vietnam, with bilateral trade hitting 19.4 billion USD in the first half of this year, a year-on-year increase of 11 percent.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker witnessed the official conclusion of the EVFTA in Brussels on December 2, after nearly three years of negotiation between Vietnam and the EU.

They expected the ratification process of the trade pact to be completed "as soon as possible".

HSBC Vietnam General Director Pham Hong Hai told news website enternews.vn that the progress of the EVFTA, together with the formation of the ASEAN Economic Community at the end of this year, will be important bases for the trade liberalisation between EU and ASEAN blocs.

Source:VNA

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