Vietnam and the EU have organized reciprocal high-level visits and signed important agreements to lay a firm basis for cooperation development in the new period.
Economic cooperation: a historic change in bilateral relations. The signing of the Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and their Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA) after 7 years of negotiation has created new momentums and marked an important change in the Vietnam-EU comprehensive partnership and cooperation.
Under the new-generation FTAs, Vietnam, which used to receive EU assistance for development and poverty reduction, has shifted to an equal cooperative partnership for mutual benefit with EU partners. The agreements offer big opportunities for both sides to fully exploit their potential and assist each other in trade, investment, and sustainable development.
Vietnamese Ambassador and Head of the Vietnamese Mission to the EU Vu Anh Quang told the media: “The two agreements are important for Vietnam and the EU not only in trade and investment. They are new generation FTAs, which combine trade and investment with social standards, labor, environment, and sustainable and inclusive development goals. These are the first new generation trade-investment agreements the EU has signed with a middle income country. Once ratified, the agreements will greatly benefit both sides because their economic products will not compete but supplement each other.”
Political relations strengthened
In addition to economic cooperation, Vietnam and the EU have made new developments in politics and security. Both sides have continued to promote cooperative mechanisms, including the Joint Committee to implement the Vietnam-EU Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, and in June kick started the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance, and Trade (FLEGT). Vietnam and the EU stepped up security and defence cooperation with the signing of a Framework Participation Agreement in October dealing with common security problems.
Reciprocal visits by leaders of both sides in 2019 illustrated foreign policy priorities and opened new prospects for bilateral relations. Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said: “Facing the rise of protectionism, non-traditional security challenges, and global trade problems, Vietnam-EU cooperation has illustrated a reformed mindset and strategic vision for Vietnam and the EU. The two economies will supplement each other and cooperate for mutual benefit toward a brighter future and contribute to sustainable development, peace, stability, and development.”
Bernd Large, Chairman of the European Parliament’s Committee on International Trade, said that whenever he comes to Vietnam, he saw progresses in bilateral relations and positive developments. Both sides have tried to further improved bilateral relations, he said.
Cooperative results in 2019 have motivated the Vietnam-EU comprehensive partnership and cooperation.