Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien (left) and Executive Vice President of the European Commission (E.C.) and E.U. Commissioner for Trade Valdis Dombrovskis

Co-chairing the third meeting of the Trade Committee of the EVFTA in Brussels on December 1, Dombrovskis said the E.U. appreciated Vietnam's serious implementation of its obligations under the EVFTA, particularly the establishment of the Domestic Advisory Group (DAG) on sustainable development and the promulgation of the revised Labor Code and revised Intellectual Property Law.

He cited E.U. statistics showing Vietnam's exports to the E.U. are four times higher than imports, suggesting the Southeast Asian nation work harder to ensure the trade balance by focusing on the fields of labor - trade union, pharmaceuticals, the registration of cars imported from the E.U., and import of E.U. farm produce.

The two sides reviewed the implementation of the deal in the areas relating to goods trading, animal and plant quarantine measures, trade and sustainable development, and discussed orientations to handle and cooperate in issues of shared concern.

Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien, who co-chaired the meeting, highlighted the successful implementation of the deal in the three years since it took effect, noting his belief that once E.U. - Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (IPA) is ratified by the E.U., the trade relations will grow even stronger.

Vietnam will seriously fulfill commitments in the EVFTA, especially in the spheres of the E.U.’s concern, he affirmed.

The two sides also exchanged views on multilateral issues such as Indo-Pacific cooperation, World Trade Organization (WTO) reform, and preparations for the WTO's 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13), scheduled for February 2024 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

This was the first in-person meeting between the two sides since the EVFTA took effect in August 2020, following meetings held online due to COVID-19 impacts. The EVFTA is one of Vietnam's first new generation FTAs, and also the first of its kind that the E.U. has signed with a developing country in the Asia-Pacific.

Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien (center) at the meeting

On a rotating basis, Vietnam will host the fourth meeting of the Trade Committee and other meetings of relevant specialized committees of the EVFTA next year.

Mariella Cantagalli, a senior expert from the Directorate-General for Trade (DG Trade) at the E.C., told the Vietnam News Agency (VNA) that the meeting reflects the good relations between Vietnam and the E.U., stressing the deal is strong enough to promote trade between the 27 E.U. member countries and European businesses and Vietnamese enterprises.

After the three-year implementation of the EVFTA, Vietnam's export turnover to the E.U. has increased by nearly 50%, according to E.U. statistics. Among Vietnamese exports, agricultural products such as rice, cashew nuts, pepper, and rubber have experienced the highest hikes. Meanwhile, E.U. exports to the country rose by over 40%, mainly machinery, spare parts, textile-garment raw materials, footwear, milk and dairy products, and confectionery.

Source: VNA