Wednesday, 19/12/2018
New era in the relationship between Viet Nam-EU
26/2/2016 15:19' Send Print

 

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung meets with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. Photo: VNA

During the visit, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung had talks with President of the European Commission (EC) Jean Claude Juncker, met with the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, Chairman of the European Parliament Martin Schulz and the President of the Parliamentarians’ Friendship Group with Viet Nam in the European Parliament Jan Zahradil.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and EU leaders exchanged, and agreed several measures to strengthen cooperation between the two sides in all fields, particularly in politics, economy, science-technology, energy, climate change, among others. Besides bilateral issues, the Prime Minister and the EU leaders also compared note on some international issues, and areas of mutual concern and cooperation between the two parties in multilateral framework.

During the working visit to the EU this time of Prime Minister, the two sides signed a Declaration to conclude negotiations on the Viet Nam-EU Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA). This is an important step in strengthening relations between Viet Nam and the EU to mark the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Viet Nam and the EU.

Speaking to international and Vietnamese media at a press conference, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung stressed EVFTA was a new generation free trade agreement of high standards, promising to expand the market for exchange of trade, especially for products and services that both parties could complement each other; create equal environment favorable for investment and trading businesses. At the same time, along with the free trade agreements (FTA), signed earlier by Viet Nam, EVFTA opens vast trading space for Viet Nam and its 55 partners, including all G7 countries and 15 G20 countries. Viet Nam is ready to play as bridging for EU businesses to penetrate into the vast and potential ASEAN market and the Asia-Pacific region.

 

Viet Nam and the European Union sign the Declaration on the Conclusion of the Negotiations on EVFTA. Photo: AFP

With the level of commitment achieved, EVFTA ensures a balance of benefits for both Viet Nam and the EU, taking into account development disparities. The agreement has separate chapters on Trade of Goods, Rules of Origin, Customs and Trade Facilitation, Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures and Technical Barriers to Trade, Trade in Services (on general rules and commitment to open market), Investment, Trade Remedies, Competition, State-Owned Enterprises, Government Procurement, Intellectual Property (including geographic guidelines), Sustainable Development, Cooperation and Capacity Building, Legal and Institutional Issues. The agreement also includes a new and more progressive approach, on investment protection and dispute settlement. EVFTA was started and concluded when bilateral relations between Viet Nam and EU have been increasingly developed, especially in the economic and trade areas.

Besides the signing of the Declaration on conclusion of EVFTA, the Prime Minister also requested the two sides to strengthen the exchange of delegations, consultation mechanism; and ratify the Partnership and Cooperation Framework Agreement (PCA) in early 2016.

Expressing appreciation of EU development assistance to Viet Nam in recent years and the EU’s increased aid to 400 million euros to Viet Nam during the period of 2014-2020, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung asked the European Council to continue support Viet Nam in institutional capacity building, governance, health, education and training, science-technology, environment, climate change, maintain official development assistance to Viet Nam in all bilateral, multilateral and regional cooperation programs. Accordingly, the two sides pledged to cooperate in promoting sign Voluntary Partnership Agreement on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT-VPA) and project finance agreement EU Justice and Legal Empowerment Programme in Viet Nam (EU JULE).

Regarding the cooperation between Viet Nam and the EU in international institutions, and fora such as the United Nations, ASEM, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung noted the positive results, suggesting that Viet Nam and the EU continue to strengthen coordination and mutual support in areas of mutual interest. EC President Jean Claude Juncker agreed that the two sides continue to maintain frequent exchange of delegations, especially high-level visits, strengthen bilateral ties in the fields of priorities and requested Viet Nam as an active member of ASEAN, support the EU in strengthening ties between the EU and ASEAN.

On this occasion, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and EC President Jean Claude Juncker, Chairman of the European Council Donald Tusk issued a Joint Press Statement on the relations between Viet Nam and EU. This was the first joint statement issued by President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission and the leader of Viet Nam. In the joint press statement, leaders of both sides expressed satisfaction at the impressive development of bilateral relations, especially the conclusion of the negotiations on EVFT, agreed to continue to push for early ratification of the PCA, by the EU, strengthen cooperation in priority areas such as health, education and training, energy infrastructure, environment, green growth, among others.

Leaders of the two sides also stressed the importance of maintaining maritime security, freedom of overflight in the East Sea, support resolution of disputes by peaceful means on the basis of international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), not to use or threat to use force, self-restraint, not to complicate and cause tense situation, accelerate measures to build trust, reduce tensions, and prevent conflict. Particularly, the two sides committed not to pursue, or to take action to militarize issues in the East Sea, seriously, fully and effectively implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and soon pass the Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC).

Synthesized by Phuong Nguyen