Vietnam and the European Union (EU) will push ahead with the review of legal documents towards the signing and application of their bilateral free trade agreement (EVFTA) in 2018.
Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang was speaking at a ceremony to publish the White Book on trade and investment in Vietnam in 2016. The event was held in Hanoi on March 2 by the European Chamber of Commerce (EuroCharm) and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI).
He raised the fact that two-way trade increased tenfold from 4.1 billion USD in 2000 to 41.4 billion USD in 2015, making the EU one of the top trade partners of Vietnam.
The union is also a big foreign direct investor in Vietnam with 2,162 valid projects worth 38.4 billion USD, he said, adding that the mutual support in Vietnam-EU trade and investment ties will help further bilateral cooperation after the signing of the EVFTA.
Ambassador and Head of the EU delegation to Vietnam Bruno Angelet said the EVFTA will activate a new wave of better-quality investment from the EU into Vietnam, which, he said, must be supported by Vietnamese private businesses to boost the country’s deep integration.
EuroCharm Chairwoman Nicola Connolly said the attractiveness of Vietnam to foreign investors is undeniable as the Southeast Asian country is incessantly improving its business climate.
However, more reforms are needed to maintain the country’s development, she added.
EU representatives suggested Vietnam develop human resources via vocational training as well as increase productivity and improve capital distribution.