HA NOI (VNS) — Vietnamese officials, representatives from the European Union (EU) delegation and experts from Singapore, Thailand and the US attended a seminar in Ha Noi yesterday to discuss challenges in the implementation of the Viet Nam-EU Free Trade Agreement (VEFTA).
During recent meetings, Vietnamese and EU leaders emphasised their political resolve to sign the deal in early 2015, according to chairman of the Party Central Committee's Commission for External Relations Hoang Binh Quan.
Noting that the EU had surpassed the US to become Viet Nam's top export market and its member nations were leading foreign investors in the country, he said the VEFTA would open up a multitude of opportunities for both sides.
Vietnamese businesses would gain better access to the 500 million-strong EU market and attract more investment from this bloc.
However, it was crucial to identify the challenges posed by the agreement and devise feasible and comprehensive solutions, especially in economic, trade, legal and institutional aspects, Quan said, adding that the seminar would contribute to efforts by Vietnamese ministries and localities to speed the implementation of the agreement.
Rabea Brauer, head of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung foundation's office in Viet Nam, said each country needed to integrate strongly into the global economy and the VEFTA would fuel collaboration between the two regions.
The agreement would also help Viet Nam attract more foreign investment, according to Vo Tri Thanh, deputy head of the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM). It would also boost FDI flow and bring more technology and funding from the EU to Viet Nam, expanding the country's opportunities to participate in the global supply chain.
As a result, Vietnamese businesses could provide intermediary services for FDI enterprises and create a support industry for European manufacturers.
While the agreement would bring competitive pressure, it also provided the country with the opportunity to boost its competitiveness in the long run, he said, adding that in this regard, participating in this agreement would yield more benefit than ASEAN +1 trade agreements.
The seminar also included discussions on economic, commercial and legal challenges.