Fish products processed at An Lạc Seafood Company in southern Tra Vinh Province (Photo: VNA)
  
Hanoi (VNA) - The upcoming free trade agreement between Vietnam and the European Union (EVFTA) will open new opportunities for Vietnam to access modern technologies and learn management skills, Deputy Industry and Trade Minister Tran Quoc Khanh said at a conference in Hanoi on December 20.

The conference, organised by the Ministry and Industry and Trade and the European Trade Policy and Investment Support Project (EU-MUTRAP), was aimed at providing information on industrial sectors which have potential for investors, as well as the expected investment trends of European businesses once the EVFTA takes effect.

"The EU is one of Vietnam’s most important trade partners, and will be more so once the EVFTA, scheduled to be signed in 2017, takes effect in 2018," Khanh said.

“EVFTA is expected to create a momentum to promote investment and trade between the two parties,” Khanh said.

Accordingly, the total import–export turnover between Vietnam and the EU is expected to increase by around 50 percent in the first years after the agreement takes effects. Nearly 40 percent of European firms in Vietnam plan to increase their investment in the upcoming years.

He said the agreement ensures benefits for both Vietnam and EU. The pact facilitates trade, services and investment, as well as new approaches to protectionism and investment disputes. The agreement is considered the top commitment which Vietnam has reached in FTAs so far.

“With its high quality, EVFTA is expected to be an important momentum for trade promotion between Vietnam and the EU, especially for key Vietnamese products, such as garment and textile, shoes, agricultural products and for European goods such as equipment, auto and alcohol.

Bui Huy Son, Director of the ministry’s Trade Promotion Department, said the EU has 1,089 projects with a total registered capital of 23.16 billion USD, accounting for 8 percent of the total registered capital in Vietnam.

EU investors are particularly interested in manufacturing, real estate trading and electricity distribution, he added.

“EVFTA is expected to attract more investment from the EU to Vietnam with new technologies and transfer in areas which the country has committed to open, such as garment and textile, leather shoes and wood production,” Son said.

He also suggested that local firms carefully prepare, in co-operation with foreign investors, to welcome investment inflows, absorb new technologies and management skills. Vietnamese companies could be trusted partners of foreign firms, especially from the EU, he said.-VNA