EU, Vietnam cooperate to improve competitiveness

Last year, the strategic partnership and comprehensive cooperation between Vietnam and the EU continued to be strengthened when the two parties signed the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), the first trade deal of the EU with a developing country in the region.

Mr. Giorgio Aliberti, the EU’s Ambassador to Vietnam. (Photo: SGGP)

Mr. Giorgio Aliberti, the EU’s Ambassador to Vietnam. (Photo: SGGP)

Both Vietnam and the EU are considered the signing of the EVFTA to be a success in bilateral relations. However, there are concerns that with the EVFTA, Vietnamese goods will face disadvantages and will not be able to compete with goods and services of the EU. According to Mr. Giorgio Aliberti, the EU’s Ambassador to Vietnam, in the EVFTA, there are terms of protectionism which regulate specifically the fields that Vietnam is vulnerable when opening the market, will have higher latency than the EU. When the EVFTA takes effect, 99 percent of tariff lines will be removed in accordance with the roadmap regulated in the agreement but there will be two different routes between the EU and Vietnam. The EU only has seven years to totally open the doors whereas Vietnam has up to ten years. This will be the time for Vietnam to improve the competitiveness of its products.

He said that he did not concern about the export capacity of Vietnam as the country has been exporting well to the EU. Therefore, in the next ten years, Vietnam will be absolutely different in terms of competitiveness. The EU and Vietnam will collaborate in many ways to increase competitiveness for Vietnam. In order to do that, Vietnam needs to participate more deeply into the global value chain, improve product quality and seek opportunities more actively. Then, the competitiveness of Vietnamese goods will no longer be a worrisome problem.

For Vietnamese goods to enter the market with a population of 450 million people of the EU, Vietnam should concentrate more on organic products and avoid using banned chemicals in the process of production as the EU’s consumers do not accept chemicals that are harmful to human health. Coffee is a strong product of Vietnam so the county needs to put more efforts to improve the quality to help Vietnamese coffee to enter the EU market. Similarly, the quality of other products also needs to be better by participating deeply in the global value chain. In fact, Vietnam has been seeing a trade surplus to the EU so, obviously, Vietnam knows how to export well, he added.

He also shared that the EU has been focusing on machinery products as it has strengths in technology which is showed via means of transport, such as cars, manufactured by countries in the EU. Moreover, there are also technology products necessary for the economic development of Vietnam in the future. The EU is also promoting the development of the pharmaceutical industry in Vietnam. As for service, the EU has realized the huge potential in the banking and insurance sectors. The economy of Vietnam is booming. The number of people with income above average has gradually increased from 12 million people currently to possibly 35-40 million people in the future. Clearly, they will be potential clients for the EU’s service sector.

When cooperating and investing in Vietnam, the EU always expects Vietnam to create a favorable investment environment for European enterprises. The EU always wants a fair playground without discrimination and protectionism for enterprises to develop. Increasing cooperation, trade, and investment will contribute to promoting the relationship between the EU and Vietnam, he said.

The EU aims to become the first continent without carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. Meanwhile, many warnings about climate change have brought several challenges for Vietnam. The EU has enough tools enabling it to carry out measures to support Vietnam in the fight against climate change. In addition, the EU has experience in developing the digital economy and taking advantage of the technology to make positive changes to help Vietnam to pursue this path.

By Do Van – Translated by Gia Bao

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