Vietnam, the EU, and the Possibilities of a Successful Partnership
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs held a seminar on "Strengthening cooperation between Vietnamese localities and the European Union" on December 12 to promote cooperation between Vietnamese localities and the European region and foster further the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).
The event was held when the Heads of Missions came back to Vietnam to attend the 31st Diplomatic Conference and the 20th Diplomatic Conference.
The leaders of the People's Committees of Ben Tre and Gia Lai provinces, the representatives of the Department of Foreign Affairs of Ho Chi Minh City, Nghe An, Kon Tum, Cao Bang, Thanh Hoa, Hung Yen, Gia Lai, Dien Bien provinces, 15 Heads of Missions came back from the EU, and leaders of departments under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
|Delegates at the seminar. Photo: Quang Hoa
The seminar focused on measures to strengthen coordination and promote cooperation in five areas: agricultural products export and investment; processing, preservation and transportation of fruit products for export; climate change, high-tech, digital economy, and green economy; labour export and training; renewable energy and environmental protection.
Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Minh Vu said that Vietnam occupies an important position in the global and regional policies of the EU. The EVFTA that officially took effect in August 2020 has brought Vietnam many great advantages in promoting cooperation with the EU as only two countries in ASEAN, Vietnam and Singapore, have signed Free Trade Agreement with the EU. This is an unprecedented opportunity for both sides.
However, Vietnam's export volume to the EU is not high, accounting for only 2% of the EU's total import turnover. The Deputy Minister said that there are many opportunities for Vietnam to promote cooperation with Europe. Vu suggested that localities propose strategic plans, so the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ambassadors discuss and support localities in the implementation.
|Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Minh Vu spoke at the seminar. Photo: Quang Hoa
“The localities need to detail the plans that put people at the centre, following the guidance of 13th Party Congress”, Nguyen Minh Vu emphasized.
The delegates all said that Vietnam has the capacity to cooperate with the EU in many fields, including export, agricultural products, climate change adaptation, and renewable energy. Meanwhile, the EU has strengths in high-tech agriculture, organic agriculture, climate change adaptation, renewable energy development, and wants to expand cooperation in those fields. However, Vietnam has not met the requirements of labour, environment, logistics costs, transportation and product quality of the EU.
The delegates said that it is necessary to change the approaches and invest more in market research to develop an export strategy and attract investment from the EU in the near future. Localities need to do the market research, identify the strengths, and discuss with the Heads of Missions working in the EU about the plans.
The enterprises need to improve the quality and design of packaging, ensure the right quantity and stay on schedule, develop cold storage facilities and preservation techniques for agricultural products, and improve logistics performances. The Ambassadors asserted that diplomatic representatives in the EU will act as a bridge, providing localities with information about the market, potential projects to promote cooperation between Vietnamese localities and the EU.
The delegates said that the seminar is the first step to understanding the possibilities of cooperation. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will continue to coordinate with localities to promote exports and attract investments from Europe.
|The signing ceremony of a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation between the People's Committee of Ben Tre province and the Vietnamese Embassies in Belgium and Luxembourg. Photo: Quang Hoa
A Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation between the People's Committee of Ben Tre province and the Vietnamese Embassies in Belgium and Luxembourg, the Vietnamese Delegation to the EU was signed in the event. It aims to boost trade promotion and attract investment from the EU to Ben Tre in high-tech agriculture, renewable energy, desalination technologies and tourism.
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