EU pledges to speed up trade pact with VN

09/07/2017    49

Leaders of the European Union told Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc they would speed up review of the bloc’s free trade agreement with Việt Nam with a view to signing it as soon as possible.

The PM met European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hamburg on Saturday.

Phúc also met with country leaders attending the summit, among them Indonesian President Joko Widodo, whom he asked to deal with fishery issues in a humanitarian spirit and in line with the bilateral strategic partnership between their two countries. He suggested accelerating the conclusion of negotiations on demarcation of exclusive economic zones between the two countries. Widodo agreed with the suggestions. 

At a meeting with his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, the Vietnamese PM urged India to clear trade barriers towards increasing two-way trade to US$15 billion by 2020. The Vietnamese Government is ready to offer all possible support for Indian firms to do business in Việt Nam, he said, adding that Việt Nam backs Indias “Act East” policy and will continue strengthening the ASEAN-India strategic partnership. 

Modi vowed to increase the exchange of visits at all levels on the occasion of the 45th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties and the 10th anniversary of the two countries’ strategic partnership. He spoke highly of Việt Nam’s coordinating role in ASEAN-India ties and described Việt Nam as an important pillar in India’s “Act East” policy. 

East Sea issue

At his meeting with the EU heads, Phúc also asked them to provide technical support for Việt Nam to effectively realise the free trade deal and to continue with specific projects to help Việt Nam deliver on commitments of the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change. 

On the East Sea (South China Sea) issue, leaders from Indonesia, India and the EU agreed with Việt Nam’s stance on the importance of maintaining peace, stability, security, maritime and aviation safety and freedom in the disputed waters, settling disputes by peaceful means in line with international law and the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. 

At a meeting with World Health Organisation (WHO) Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the PM asked for further bilateral cooperation to fulfill the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The WHO Director praised Việt Nam as a successful example of health care.

Trade with RoK, Australia

Phúc earlier had official meetings with President of the Republic of Korea (RoK) Moon Jae-in, and the Prime Minister of Australia, Malcolm Turnbull. 

He praised the RoK President for sending a special envoy to Việt Nam shortly after he was sworn into office, saying the move showed that President Moon attached importance to the two countries’ strategic partnership. 

The two sides agreed to increase high-ranking visits and meetings amid celebrations of the 25th founding anniversary of their diplomatic ties this year. The countries will bolster cultural exchanges and economic, trade and investment cooperation in order to raise bilateral trade to US$100 billion in 2020. 

Highlighting the RoK’s role as the biggest investor and the third largest trade partner of Việt Nam, PM Phúc asked the RoK to import more agro-forestry-fishery products and work closely with his country to effectively implement the Việt Nam-RoK Free Trade Agreement. 

For his part, President Moon pledged to order relevant agencies promote the implementation of Việt Nam’s cooperation suggestions. He also accepted Việt Nam’s request to improve the treatment of Vietnamese women marrying RoK citizens so that they can integrate into local society more easily and become part of his country’s cultural diversity. 

At another meeting, PM Phúc and his Australia counterpart Malcolm Turnbull expressed their delight at the strong progress in their countries’ relations. Turnbull invited the Vietnamese PM to attend the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit in 2018 and visit Australia on this occasion. 

The PM praised Australia’s assistance to his country in such fields as climate change response, reform-innovation, startup support, and improvement of the private sector’s capacity. He said the potential for bilateral economic-trade cooperation remains huge, asking Australia to facilitate the entry of Vietnamese products into the country, especially tropical fruits and aquatic products. 

PM Turnbull noted that the more than 200,000 Vietnamese-Australians and 25,000 Vietnamese students in Australia provide a very important foundation for bilateral ties. 

Also on Saturday, PM Phúc had brief talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Senegalese President Macky Sall, Singaporean PM Lee Hsien Loong and Canadian PM Justin Trudeau.

Women’s empowerment

In his speech to the G20 Summit session on Saturday, PM Phúc hailed the event for discussing employment and women’s empowerment amid the fourth industrial revolution. 

He urged the G20 to build a new global framework on further liberalisation of cyber infrastructure development, information technology and digital application, as well as open a global forum on start-ups to share information and experience. 

The PM also reported that Việt Nam will hold the APEC High-Level Policy Dialogue on women and the economy in September 2017 to facilitate Vietnamese women’s access to business opportunities and contribute to the digital economy. 

During his visit to Germany from July 5 to 8, the PM held talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, met with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, President of the German Federal Council and Minister-President of Rheinland-Pfalz state, Malu Dreyer. He also met several federal and local leaders and co-chaired the Việt Nam-Germany Business Forum. 

The PM and his entourage left Hamburg on Saturday and flew to the Netherlands at the invitation of his Dutch counterpart, Mark Rutte.

Source: Vietnam News