The EU’s chief negotiator Mauro Petriccione speaks at the EVFTA workshop in Brussels on September 7 (Photo: VNA)

Brussels (VNA) – The European Union (EU) wants
to ratify the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) in 2018 and put it into
force as soon as possible, the EU’s chief negotiator Mauro Petriccione has

He made the remark at an EVFTA workshop in
Brussels on September 7. The event, held by the European Chamber of Commerce in
Vietnam (EuroCham) and the Confederation of European Business, attracted nearly
100 participants, including representatives of EU and Vietnamese agencies and
European business leaders in Vietnam.

Petriccione said FTAs will be a highlight in an
upcoming message from European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

The early signing of FTAs between the EU and its
partners is essential, he said, describing the EVFTA as a high-quality
agreement and a pillar in the union’s trade strategy in Southeast Asia.

Vietnamese Ambassador to Belgium Vuong Thua
Phong assessed European businesses’ support for the EVFTA as important,
stressing that amid changes in the world, timing is crucial, so the parties
need to make efforts to soon enforce the deal.

At the workshop, enterprises affirmed the
importance of the agreement to win-win economic and trade cooperation. They agreed
that the EVFTA will aid not only Vietnamese firms but also companies and people
of Europe.

Many speakers said with a population of nearly
100 million and fast and stable economic growth, Vietnam is an especially
promising market. They also lauded the opportunities generated by the EVFTA.

[Vietnam hoped to become EU’s largest trade partner in ASEAN]

Jean-Jacques Bouflet, a member of the EuroCham
Executive Committee, noted the improvement in Vietnam’s investment climate,
adding that investment-related legal reforms and administrative procedure simplification
have created a better business environment.

EuroCham supports Vietnam’s willingness in
administrative procedure modernisation to facilitate investment attraction.
Once enforced, the EVFTA will become an effective tool to protect EU and Vietnamese
firms when they do business in each other’s markets, he said.

Alann Bouvot, CEO of Sodex Sport Vietnam, said
he had witnessed improvements in the local investment climate after 26 years
investing in the country’s Nha Trang city, saying Vietnam has a stable
political situation and investors can easily talk with local authorities.

Sodex invested in a new production facility in
2017, which showed his firm’s belief in a promising future in Vietnam, he

Aside from slashing tariffs, the EVFTA will also
bring about other benefits in terms of the environment, administrative
procedure improvement, and facilitation of export-import companies.

EU enterprises are eager for the harmonisation
of Vietnam’s procedures with European criteria, Bouvot said, adding that he
hopes the EVFTA will be ratified and take effect soon.-VNA

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