Vietnam’s ratification of EVFTA makes international headlines

Update: 15:36 | 09/06/2020
Major newspapers of German and Austria ran articles on June 8 and 9 highlighting the Vietnamese National Assembly (NA)’s ratification of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) during its ongoing ninth session.
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Workers piece together clothes at a factory in Ho Chi Minh City. Vietnam ranks as the world's third-largest apparel exporter. (Photo: Reuters)

Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) newspaper said Vietnamese NA deputies agreed to ratify the EVFTA – the most comprehensive agreement the EU has ever concluded with a developing country and the second between the bloc and a Southeast Asian nation.

Since the European Parliament (EP) approved the agreement in February, it can enter into force in early August, according to the article.

Initially, around two-thirds of all tariffs will be removed under the EVFTA, and after seven to 10 years, almost all goods will be exempted from taxes, it said.

Handelsblatt newspaper also said the Vietnamese legislature’s ratification of the EVFTA would help eliminate tariffs imposed on most of the emerging Asian nation’s exports to the EU.

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Meanwhile, Frankfurt newspaper said trade experts from the EP have applauded the Vietnamese legislature’s final approval of the EVFTA after eight years of negotiations.

It quoted Bernd Lange, Chairman of the EP’s International Trade Committee, as saying that with the decision by Vietnam, the EU can initiate changes through tightening the bilateral ties.

The EP’s EVFTA rapporteur Geert Bourgeois was also quoted by the newspaper as saying that this is a great opportunity for European exporters and investors.

Meanwhile, the website of the Austrian Economic Chambers said with the EVFTA ratified in Vietnam, Austrian firms will find it easier to access the Southeast Asian market.

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Vietnam’s economic growth exceeded 7 percent, the article noted, adding that it is a network economy that has competitiveness, with the growing middle class and young, dynamic workforce.

Vietnam will be a center of technologies and a start-up incubator in Asia, it stressed.

The same day, Reuters news agency also ran an article titled “Vietnam ratifies free trade deal with the EU”, saying the agreement will open up Vietnam’s services, including post, banking and shipping and public procurement markets.

The World Bank said in May the EVFTA could boost Vietnam’s gross domestic product and exports by 2.4 percent and 12 percent respectively by 2030 and lift hundreds of thousands of people out of poverty, according to the article.

Such benefits are particularly urgent to lock in positive economic gains as the country responds to the COVID-19 pandemic, the bank reportedly said.

On June 9, the DPA newswire said once the deal takes effect in early August, 99 percent of all tariffs on both sides will be cut after seven years.

The EVFTA will allow Vietnam, which is already one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, to increase its export turnover to the EU by about 20 percent by 2020 and 44 percent by 2030, it said.

Meanwhile, the DW said the FTA with Vietnam is the EU's most ambitious trade deal with a developing country. The deal is set to give the Southeast Asian country a much-needed economic boost amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In ratifying the deal, Vietnam committed to implementing sustainable development standards, protecting labor rights and to uphold its pledges to tackle climate change under the Paris Accord.

The Finanznachrichten cited Vice President of the Federation of German Wholesale, Foreign Trade and Services Ines Kitzing as saying that the deal not only creates an economic driving force but also offer a clear answer to protectionism under the disguise of COVID-19 crisis.

General Manager of the Federal Association of the German Footwear and Leather Goods Industry Manfred Junkert, for his part, said opportunities for German producers in Vietnam rely on how Vietnam overcomes the pandemic as well as financial capability of domestic enterprises.

He also hailed Vietnam as a promising market for German leather and footwear. Last year, Vietnam was the second-largest supplier of footwear to Germany.

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Vietnam’s National Assembly is set to ratify the deal at the upcoming gathering on June 8.

(Source: VNA)