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Vietnam starts FTA talks with EU

(VNS) The first negotiations on a bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the European Union are scheduled to open this month.

The agreement is expected to bring chances and challenges for Vietnamese exporting enterprises. Dr Dao Ngoc Tien, International Commerce lecturer from the Foreign Trade University talked to the Vietnam News Agency on the issue.

How does an FTA between Viet Nam and the EU affect Vietnamese exporters to the EU?

The FTAs between Viet Nam and EU and ASEAN and the EU are sure to bring chances and challenges to Viet Nam. Those agreements will create favourable conditions for importers and exporters to promote further trading activities with the EU.

Thanks to the FTA, Viet Nam will have many opportunities to receive investment from the EU where technological groups are among world leaders.

However, for developing countries like Viet Nam, the level is so low that the EU should provide certain flexible preferences.

I hope that, with the negotiation skills of the Government delegation together with supporting information from local enterprises and research institutes, Viet Nam will achieve a satisfactory agreement with the EU.

What are challenges for local enterprises after the FTA is signed?

There are many challenges. For instance, local enterprises that don”t have quality material for production and good management ability will have to stop work. Enterprises who have strategies to improve their competitiveness will get a chance to develop their business.

Vietnamese exporters face technical barriers when exporting to the EU. How should they prepare to deal with these?

Technical barriers are world-wide and a problem for Vietnamese exporters, whether there”s a FTA or not.

I think, the FTA will be a lever for local enterprises to overcome those technical barriers, to improve their competitive ability with support from the Government.

The FTA has many technical barriers, including origin and standards of food safety and hygiene. The enterprises must get information from the EU countries to build their quality systems to overcome the barriers. In particular, they should ensure the quality of their suppliers.

What do you think about the EU market for local exporters?

The EU is a large export market with great potential for Vietnamese enterprises. The market needs all kinds of goods, from medium to high levels of quality. It”s a good opportunity for Viet Nam enterprises. There is a big demand in the EU for products that Viet Nam traditionally produces, such as textiles, garments and footwear. Enterprises should seek opportunities for all goods. — VNS