EVFTA expected to be signed late 2018 hinh anh 1A factory of the Lam Giang Yarn Company (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) Bernd Lange, Chairman of the European Parliament’s Committee on International Trade, has said he expects the European Union-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) to be signed at the Asia-Europe Meeting Summit in October or sometime in November this year.

At a press meeting in Hanoi on July 27, Lange, who is on a working trip to Vietnam, said the EVFTA has now been finalised after a series of efforts to solve technical problems. It is now ready to be translated into the 24 official languages of the European Union (EU) and sent to the 28 member countries for consideration.

With regard to the ratification of the deal, he said this is the responsibility of both sides, adding that he hopes the ratification will be finished within this term of the European Parliament, which will end around March or April 2019.

He noted that during his visit to Vietnam, he met with leaders of the Vietnamese Government to discuss such issues as reforms of the Labour Code and amendments to the Trade Union Law. 

The two sides need to make efforts to solve outstanding problems while the European Parliament considers and ratifies this agreement, the official added.

The EVFTA will bring about a number of opportunities for both the EU and Vietnamese businesses, thus supporting the development of both sides in the long run, Lange affirmed.

He also said that he is impressed with Vietnam’s recent stable economic growth, with its average GDP growth rate of over 6 percent. 

This agreement will offer Vietnam a chance to grasp better access to the EU market and attract more FDI from the EU, he said, adding that this is of interest for both sides.

Lange also told the press that there are certain challenges that the EU and Vietnam need to handle, including how to improve awareness amongst businesses, especially small- and medium-sized enterprises, of the EVFTA’s benefits. Not many small- and medium-sized firms really understand the direct benefits of this trade pact, and so the two sides should assist companies in capacity building. –VNA