EU, Vietnam kick-start FTA negotiations EC gets nod to FTA negotiations with Vietnam
Relations between Vietnam and the EU have developed dynamically since the two sides established diplomatic ties in November 1990. The EU is one of Vietnam’s key partners in various areas, from politics-diplomacy and development cooperation through to trade-investment, and science-technology, as well as in addressing other global challenges.
The PCA, initialled in October 2010 and officially signed in June 2012, is expected to bring bilateral relations to new heights, with deeper and broader cooperation on a basis of equality and mutual benefit.
It’s worth remembering that over a decade ago the rapid development of Vietnam-EU relations required the two sides to formulate a new framework of cooperation to replace the 1995 Vietnam European Commission Framework Cooperation Agreement.
In June 2005 the Prime Minister approved a master plan on Vietnam-EU relations through to 2010 and orientations to 2015, aiming to build an equal partnership, long-term and comprehensive cooperation for peace and development.
By 2007, the EU proposed negotiating the PCA with each of the ASEAN member countries to develop a new cooperation framework with countries in Southeast Asia.
In October 2007, the EU proposed PCA negotiations with Vietnam to replace the 1995 Vietnam-EC Framework Cooperation Agreement.
During his first visit to Vietnam in November 2007, EC President Jose Manuel Barroso and Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung agreed to kick-start negotiations of the PCA.
In October 2010 both sides completed the content of the agreement after nine rounds of negotiations and initialled it in the presence of President Barroso and PM Dung.
The PCA and new prospects
The PCA creates a new, long-term and comprehensive framework for Vietnam-EU relations, compatible with both sides’ priorities for socio-economic development and foreign affairs, as well as the common trend of cooperation and development in the world.
Agreements within the PCA will be the prerequisite for both sides to establish specific mechanisms for cooperation to develop bilateral partnership in the coming years.
The PCA will help deepen the strong political relations between Vietnam and the EU. Agreements within the PCA, in terms of politics, peace and security, will lay a firm foundation for the two sides to strengthen dialogues and cooperation in addressing issues of mutual concern at bilateral and multilateral forums, especially the ASEAN-EU forum when Vietnam assumes the role of a coordinator of the two blocs as of July 2012.
As an active and responsible member of the international community, Vietnam will work closely with its partners, including the EU, to address regional and global issues, such as climate change, the fight against trans-national crime and terrorism, nuclear security, natural resources management, environmental protection, control of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and maritime security.
The PCA enables the two sides to fully tap their comparative advantages and supplement their economic structures. The EU has advanced technologies, especially in the mechanical, manufacturing, chemical, transport, aviation, pharmaceutical and service industries with high added value. These are products increasingly required by Vietnam whose production capacity remains limited.
Meanwhile, the EU has strong demand for a wide range of products, such as rubber latex, handicrafts, footwear, garments, seafood, coffee, tea, and pepper which are all Vietnam’s highly competitive commodities.