EVFTA is the PLAN ‘A’ for Vietnam - EuroCham spoke at the VIETNAM ECONOMIC FORUM 2017

On 27 June 2017, Aymar de Liedekerke Beaufort, Vice-Chairman of the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam delivered a speech at the 2017 VIETNAM ECONOMIC FORUM organised by the Party Central Economic Committee. Mr de Liedekerke Beaufort took this opportunity to focus on the European-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), with a slight touch on some global movements and their impact upon several key sectors in Vietnam. Please see full speech here.

Several global economic trends in 2017 highlight the importance and value that the EVFTA will bring both to Vietnam, and European commerce within Vietnam. These included a discussion of the Paris Agreements, Brexit, and the recent elections in France, the Netherlands and Germany. The EU’s fastest growing economy in 6 years, twinned with a shift toward American isolationism, has provided an environment in which Vietnam has needed to reconsider its long-term partnership strategies. The recovery of Europe will be a good opportunity for Vietnam to push its exports to the EU market. Nothing exemplifies this more than the upcoming EVFTA, which offers the potential to secure a bright future for trade and investments between the EU and Vietnam. Not only will the EVFTA be financially beneficial for both parties, but it also brings corporate and social responsibility, integrity, transparency and shared values, which in the long term, will strengthen and unify Vietnam, forcing it to reach the highest levels of International standards.

Aymar de Liedekerke Beaufort, EuroCham Vice-Chairman at the Conference

EuroCham’s message is clear and simple – the EVFTA must be Vietnam’s plan ‘A’ if it wishes to change current EU-Vietnam economic relations. This Agreement foresees something close to a free trade corridor, where 99% of Vietnamese and EU exports will be tariff free after 7 & 10 years respectively. For EuroCham’s members however, it is not only about trade and investment; rather the EVFTA also brings a new attitude towards business. The EVFTA creates the necessary conditions for European know-how to reach Vietnam more easily - thus improving awareness on responsibility and environmental protection, higher quality standards and food safety, IPR protection, and recognition of local products under Geographical Indications. 

This is a position also supported by the EU Ambassador H.E. Bruno Angelet, who also also underlined the need for the Party to take preparations for the application of the EVFTA seriously, aligning both industrial strategy and policies. Three key fields for Vietnam to improve are: IPRs, Agriculture (food safety and quality, SPS, GIs) and updates on the progress of the EVFTA. He also stressed that MUTRAP experts are working on the joint indicative roadmap. A question to the Party was also how they would see Vietnamese industry in a global context and what would supporting policies for SMEs be. 

Mr. Pham Van Binh, Chairman of CEC responded to EuroCham in his closing remarks, recognising the organisation's importance and role in promoting the EVFTA, stressing the relevance of common efforts to jointly implement the EVFTA and prepare for expanding  exports to the EU, further involving private business in the development of the national economy. He thanked all 17 speakers, and expressed his gratitude for the efforts, announcing that the Commission would summarise inputs and submit to the Party for future consideration.

Aymar de Liedekerke Beaufort, EuroCham Vice-Chairman handed Whitebook 2017 to the Mr. Phung Quoc Hien, Deputy Chairman of the National Assembly

These changes will raise the confidence of foreign investors and EuroCham will be a strong partner with Vietnam in facilitating this process. Viewing the agreement’s potential to make Vietnam a regional hub, Eurocham leaders, Sector Committees and member companies are eagerly awaiting the final ratification of the EVFTA. EuroCham has developed a structured and detailed roadmap, necessary for its implementation and Mr de Liedekerke Beaufort will expand upon this, particularly with an emphasis upon the necessary amendments to national legislation the Vietnamese Government must make. 

The remainder of the forum constituted a progressive clarification of the industry-specific impacts that the EVFTA will have in several sectors, crucial to the Vietnamese economy.  Mr de Liedekerke Beaufort elaborated upon the expected changes in Banking & Finance, Agriculture & Aquaculture, Green growth, Healthcare, and Transportation & Logistics. EuroCham officers also attended both EuroCham's Pharma Group and FAABS Sector Committees' presentations. Ms. Nguyen Thi Kim Tien, MOH Minister and MARD Vice-Minister also spoke at these sessions. EuroCham Sector Committees raised their proposals how to best make use of the potential in Healthcare in Vietnam. In parallel, proposals towards a more advanced and sustainable agriculture were also delivered.

Thierry Rocaboy, Chairman of FAABS proposed solutions of smart/precision farming, Agriculture 4., as well as EVFTA opportunities and challenges for Agriculture in Vietnam. He also underlined that the EVFTA is the key to help to improve the quality and food safety in Vietnam and it should be implemented in the timely manner. EuroCham received feedback from MARD Minister Nguyen Xuan Cuong, noting that he believes the EVFTA will boost trade and investments in the sector. The Minister also stressed that moving forward they would like to see a more ideas regarding knowledge and technology transfer from FAABS members and how they can be of use to the Vietnamese citizens.  

Please see Vice Chairman Aymar de Liedekerke Beaufort's full speech here.

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