EVFTA helps increase exports, investment opportunities: experts26/08/2022 43
Experts gathered at a conference in Ho Chi Minh City on August 24 to discuss export and investment opportunities generated by the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) through sustainable development.
Vo Tan Thanh, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), said that after two years, two-way trade between Vietnam and the EU rose 14.5% in 2021 to 57 billion USD.
In the first six months of 2022, the figure reached 31.7 billion USD, up 14.6% year-on-year, he noted, adding that an upturn has been seen in investment from the Netherlands (26%), Sweden (63%), and Denmark (240%).
Lego Group of Denmark has recently invested in a 1 billion USD project in southern Binh Duong province, said Thanh.
He held that the results have shown the positive contributions of the EVFTA to Vietnam's economic development, especially in the context that Vietnam has suffered many negative impacts from COVID-19 and the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
However, Thanh also pointed to a number of aspects that Vietnam has yet to optimise from the deal, including limitations in the implementation of social welfare, environmental protection and sustainable development policies, which are important parts of the EVFTA.
For his part, Carsten Schittiek, Minister Counsellor, Head of the Trade Section of the EU Delegation to Vietnam, hailed Vietnam’s efforts in the implementation of the EVFTA, especially the country’s strong commitments through the integration and amendment of many relevant laws, thus bringing great economic benefits to Vietnam and other EVFTA members.
Schittiek recommended that Vietnam create a more simplified economic climate to attract investment from European businesses, with greater attention to policies in sustainable development, green energy, climate change adaptation, and labour rights in accordance with International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions.
By bringing more large investors as well as new knowledge and technical expertise to Vietnam, the deal can help the country to focus on new, higher quality and cleaner investment to reinforce its global supply chains, he said.
Meanwhile, Ingrid Christensen, Director of ILO Vietnam, commented that Vietnam has moved closer towards common global standards since the EVFTA took effect two years ago.
She lauded Vietnam's commitments to managing labour relations and ensuring the rights of employees.
Highlighting the significance of labour and employment in the current period, she advised Vietnamese businesses and the Government to work together to deal with difficulties and challenges.
Participants at the event also discussed issues related to responsible business and sustainable development, while updating new regulations in some European countries.