The EU’s policies towards Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) were the highlights of an October 21 conference in Ho Chi Minh City .
Organised with the support of the European Trade Policy and Investment Support Project (MUTRAP EU-Vietnam), the conference aimed to assist Vietnam in integrating deeper into the trade system of the world, ASEAN and sub-regions, strengthening the Vietnam-EU relations and optimising benefit of the economic development process.
According to Brynari Fornari, Deputy Head of the Cooperation and Development Section of the EU Delegation to Vietnam said Vietnam and the EU have conducted four negotiation rounds on their FTA and expect to sign it in mid- 2014.
Apart from traditional commitments on market opening and tariff cut, the agreement also covers a number of new issues impacting many sectors of Vietnam , including investment environment, intellectual property and sustainable development.
Experts from the MUTRAP EU-Vietnam said EU is an open economic community comprising of 28 countries and a single market that possesses the largest investment source in the world.
Currently, EU tends to expand and accept new members, thus being more open to new markets, they said.
Meanwhile, Claudio Dordi, MUTRAP EU-Vietnam technical assistance team leader said that in its more recent FTAs, the EU focused more on social issues relating to human right protection, employees’ interest and environment preservation.
Former EU Deputy Director General for Trade Pierre Defraigne said new generations of FTA will not be limited at bringing trade and investment benefits to involving economies, but also help improve their competitiveness through measures to promote training and better workers’ skills, while ensuring fine business and investment environment.
With a large population and strong human potential and advantages in production and consumption, Vietnam can enjoy many benefits from FTAs, he said.
Defraigne added that the country should design proper policies and combine economic development with ensuring social goals basing on the real situation of the economy and international integration to make full use of the benefits.