EVFTA a big opportunity for firms after COVID-19 shock: ministry


Complying with rules of origin is important for firms to expand exports to the European Union. — VNA/VNS Photo

The European Union Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) will create significant opportunities for Vietnamese firms to recover and develop after the COVID-19 pandemic, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh said at a conference on Monday in Ha Noi.

The conference organised by the Ministry of Industry and Trade and Ministry of Finance was part of a series of events to raise businesses' awareness of free trade agreements (FTAs) and help them take opportunities from FTAs after the National Assembly approved the EVFTA on June 8.

Khanh said the EVFTA would soon come in force, boosting bilateral trade and investment relations and accelerating Viet Nam's international economic integration as well as the country’s renovation and modernisation process.

In recent months, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly hurt Viet Nam’s economy and trade.

Khanh said import-export revenue from January to May fell by 2.8 per cent. In April alone, exports dropped by 27.1 per cent and imports by 16.4 per cent against the previous month.

The trade deal would aid enterprises in their post-pandemic recovery, Khanh said, adding that the door to the market with nearly 460 million population and US$35,000 GDP per capita would be widened as more than 85 per cent of tariff lines would be cut.

Vietnamese firms also had opportunities to participate in traditional value chains which were now disrupted by the pandemic and diversify markets.

Khanh said that action plans and legal documents to implement the trade deals must be prepared together with increasing dialogues with enterprises to remove their difficulties.

He also urged firms to study the trade deals and prepare to meet their requirements.

According to Le Thi Nu from Wood Alliance Investment Joint Stock Company, firms were facing difficulties in the certification of origin.

Phan Thi Thanh Xuan from the Viet Nam Leather, Footwear and Handbag Association said it was important to promote the development of the parts supply industry to meet origin rules.

According to Mai Xuan Thanh, deputy director of the General Department of Customs, the customs watchdog will work with the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry to shorten the time for certification of origin.

IP law to be amended to comply with FTAs

The Law on Intellectual Property will be revised to ensure compliance with the EVFTA, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

As time was needed to ensure the law was compliant with commitments in the EVFTA and the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the amendments would be submitted for discussion at the National Assembly's second meeting of 2021.

Viet Nam has three years to amend the legal framework on intellectual property since the trade deals come into force.

The ministry said the draft about obligations following the EVFTA would also be discussed at the National Assembly.

Among Viet Nam's FTAs, the EVFTA is one of two trade deals with high levels of commitments in terms of intellectual property.

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