Processing tra fish at the Hung Ca Compnay in Cao Lanh city, the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam hasn’t had any free trade agreements (FTAs) with EU member countries, but with the importance of Vietnam-EU relations, a bilateral new-generation FTA is critical to promoting their economic ties.

The remark was made by President of the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences Nguyen Quang Thuan at an international workshop in Hanoi on October 25. The event aimed to assess the country’s labour quality and suggest policies to improve local workforce once the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) takes effect.

Thuan noted the EU is the second biggest trade partner of Vietnam with bilateral trade estimated at over 45 billion USD in 2016. Meanwhile, they have few commodities that directly compete with each other.

The negotiation on the EVFTA officially finished on February 1, 2015. The deal is expected to take effect in 2018.

Analysing its impacts, economists at the workshop said amidst Vietnam’s strong economic integration, the EVFTA and other FTAs have great influence as they will contribute to Vietnamese firms’ development and reform and help both foreign and domestic investors to grow in markets with FTAs.

Trade in goods will be the most promising field for Vietnam and the EU since tariff cuts will fuel export and import activities which have already been thriving. To the EU, some service sectors that it is strong in such as finance-banking, distribution and transportation will benefit immediately when the EVFTA comes into effect.

Participants noted that the commitments and regulations in the trade pact will create a more favourable business climate, helping Vietnam to perfect relevant policy system and create a solid foundation for both sides’ businesses to capitalise on the EVFTA.

During the deal negotiation, Vietnam and the EU also agreed on a framework for cooperation and capacity building programmes in the areas of mutual concern. This framework will also help Vietnam build legal system and implement its commitments in the FTA, thereby enhancing bilateral win-win trade and investment activities.-VNA