The meeting between Chairman of Vietnam’s National Assembly Vuong Dinh Hue and President of the European Parliament (EP) David Sassoli has covered a number of issues with a focus on trade following the ratification of the EU–Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).
|Chairman of Vietnam’s National Assembly Vuong Dinh Hue and President of the European Parliament (EP) David Sassoli in Brussels on Sept 8. Photos: VNA
At the meeting on September 8 in Brussels, Hue said the EU is the leading partner in Vietnam’s foreign policy and international integration.
Of the issues, they said trade remains key following the signing and enforcement of EVFTA, the partnership and cooperation agreements (PCA), the Framework Partnership Agreement (FPA), the European Union Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade Action Plan (FLEGT).
Hue suggested that EP accelerate the ratification of the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA) to promote investment cooperation that meets the needs and interests of businesses, and to facilitate the implementation of EVFTA.
The two sides agreed to maintain regulatory cooperation mechanisms and dialogues to lift the EU-Vietnam relations to a new height with the contributions of Vietnam’s parliament and the EP.
On the same day, Hue met a number of Belgian firms, including ExxonMobil, Infra Asia Investment (IAI), and International Port Engineering & Investments (IPEI).
In talks with Peter Lavoy, Senior Director, International Government Relations, Asia Pacific, ExxonMobil, Hue highly appreciated the company’s operations in Vietnam, mostly the Ca Voi Xanh (Blue Whale) gas project offshore Vietnam worth US$20 billion.
Hue highlighted ExxonMobil’s products in helping ensure smooth operations of gas-to-power plants in Vietnam’s central region, contributing to the country’s energy security. He asked the firm to resume petrochemical projects in Vietnam.
In talks with IAI’s member of Board of Directors Fabien De Jonge, Hue pledged to ask authorities in Vietnam’s Haiphong and Quang Ninh to soon slash administration procedures in industrial infrastructure and Nam Tien Phong port projects in Haiphong.
IAI is running projects worth US$1.2 billion in Haiphong and Quang Ninh and expanding investment in wind and solar power in other parts of the country. Hue supported the company’s expanded investment portfolio.
|Chairman of Vietnam’s National Assembly Vuong Dinh Hue and President of the European Council (EC) Charles Michel on Sept 8.
Wide range of issues
On September 8, Hue and President of the European Council (EC) Charles Michel emphasized trade, climate change, cooperation in the EU support to Covid-19 response, and typically their joint interest in upholding the international rules-based order, peace and security in the Indo-Pacific.
Regarding the EU support to Vietnam’s pandemic fight, Hue thanked the bloc for donating 2.4 million doses of vaccines and asked for more assistance in the vaccine supply and tech transfer.
In both meetings, the Vietnamese parliament speaker requested the EP and EC support for the removal of “yellow card” on illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing to ensure Vietnamese fishermen’s livelihood and European consumers’ interests.
Trade relations between Vietnam and the EU remain strong with a volume of approximately US$41.3 billion in 2020, ranking EU among Vietnam’s largest trading partners and Vietnam is the EU’s 16th largest trade partner, according to the European Commission.
Statistics by Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) showed that Vietnam’s exports to the EU increased by 28% on year, hitting nearly US$10 billion in Q1/2021. Meanwhile, shipments from some European countries like Denmark, Belgium, Portugal, and Italy to Vietnam rose by 20-25%.
The EU’s main exports to Vietnam include high tech products, including electrical machinery and equipment, aircraft, vehicles, and pharmaceutical products, while Vietnam’s main items to the bloc are telephone sets, electronic products, footwear, textiles and clothing, coffee, rice, seafood, and furniture.
|Vietnam and EP delegations during the talks.