This is information from the conference on Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA). French World Association (Medef) and Asia Center (Asia Center) held in Paris (France) from 1/12.

According to the VNA, at the conference, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh said after agreeing to end negotiations. EVFTA at the end of 2015, Vietnam and the European Union (EU) are carrying out the finalization process in terms of language and law for the agreement, then submit to higher levels early next year to prepare for formal signing process and approval. Deputy Minister Tran Quoc Khanh also said that the Government of Vietnam is developing a plan to apply the agreement and is expected to be completed soon.

For my part, the EU’s EVFTA negotiating team head, Deputy General Director of the European Commission’s Trade Agency Raffaele Mauro Petriccione expressed EVFTA will be signed and can be passed from now until the end of 2018.

However, the Head of the EVFTA negotiation delegation of the EU also noted that the approval process may be prolonged because the EU is a Commercial block with many members.

According to Mr. Petriccione, for the EU, Vietnam is the third largest trading partner in ASEAN, second only to Malaysia. and Singapore, with two-way trade turnover in 2016 estimated at 41 billion euros.

Vietnam and the EU are two highly complementary economies and that is an important point. Vietnam exports to EU electronic products, garments, footwear, rice, seafood, coffee, … while the main products from EU exports to Vietnam are mainly high-tech products, industrial machines, pharmaceuticals.

The EVFTA negotiation team leader also appreciates the opportunities that the Agreement brings to European businesses, such as high growth rate of the Vietnamese economy, opportunities to open financial markets, reform of Vietnam’s state-owned enterprises and public procurement market after the agreement, especially the role and position of Vietnam in the ASEAN Economic Community.

Along with the attractiveness of the large market, the EU set very high requirements for Vietnam. That is what the EU requires Vietnam to use international standards, especially the standards of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in the governance of State enterprises. Vietnam has a similar policy, but there is still a gap between desire and practice. Therefore, meeting this EU requirement may bring positive effects on Vietnam’s economic reform.