Vietnam, EU determined to conclude FTA negotiations by 2014

Wednesday, 2013-10-30 22:56:26
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EP chairman Werner Langen answering media questions at the press briefing
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Nhan Dan Online – The European Union (EU) is looking forward to finalising negotiations on the bilateral EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (FTA) by the end of 2014 with strong political commitment from the Vietnamese Government.

Werner Langen, chairman of the European Parliamentarian (EP) Committee for Southeast Asia and ASEAN Relations, made the statement at a meeting with local media in Hanoi on October 30. Langen is currently leading an EP delegation on a working visit to Hanoi, Hue and Ho Chi Minh City aimed at promoting ties between the EU and Vietnam.

He went on to say that FTA negotiations are progressing well, with a fifth round of talks scheduled in Vietnam next month.

The negotiations focus on four main issues: relations between State-owned enterprises and private businesses, intellectual property protection, sustainable development and geographic indications.

Langen added that the Partnership and Co-operation Agreement (PCA), signed by the EU and Vietnam in 2012, manifests the EU’s commitment to further promoting across-the-board co-operation that will benefit both sides. He went on to say that the EU and Vietnam have identified several priority areas within the PCA framework for early implementation.

Affirming Vietnam’s role as an important partner of the EU and vital bridge to the ASEAN market, he stressed the necessity of concluding an FTA in the near future that would help both sides effectively tap their potential in economics, trade and investment.

The FTA is also expected to provide a good opportunity for Vietnam to enhance economic restructuring towards healthy competition and a more effective use of domestic capital and resources, said EU Ambassador to Vietnam Franz Jessen.

However, greater efforts by local governments are needed to improve the investment environment and lure more investors from the EU, suggested Langen.

The EU overtook the US as Vietnam’s biggest export market in 2012, with a total export revenue of US$20.3 billion, representing 17.7% of Vietnam’s global export value. It has maintained this leading position in the first half of 2013, with a growth rate of 25% year-on-year.