Prime Minister calls for measures to rev up economic ties with EU

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, chairing a meeting on Saturday in Hanoi on bilateral cooperation with the European Union (EU), urged local agencies to further step up ties with the EU, stressing the bloc is one of Vietnam’s top strategic partners.

Two-way trade has produced positive results, with the EU being the second largest importer of Vietnam’s products and services and the destination for 18% of Vietnamese exports, the Vietnam News Agency reports. Notably, Vietnam’s exports to the EU grew 12.7% last year, enjoying a trade surplus of around US$31.8 billion.

Overall, the EU is the third biggest trade partner of Vietnam, with two-way trade hitting around US$50 billion in 2017, the Government leader said.

However, PM Phuc also pointed out some shortcomings that hinder bilateral trade like the “yellow card” issued by the European Commission as a warning to Vietnamese seafood over suspected illegal fishing.

Such problems must be ironed out, said PM Phuc, who attached great significance to promoting cooperation with the EU.

He asked relevant ministries and agencies to improve the national business environment and streamline administrative procedures in a bid to further facilitate trade and investment links with the EU.

He also demanded relevant ministries closely work with the EU’s agencies to speed up the ratification of the Vietnam-EU free trade agreement (EVFTA) this year, thereby creating a breakthrough for economic and trade cooperation between the two sides.

The EVFTA, a new-generation free trade agreement between Vietnam and the EU’s 28 member states, is a comprehensive and high-quality trade pact that balances benefits for both Vietnam and the EU as well as is in line with regulations of the World Trade Organization The two sides concluded negotiations for the trade deal in 2015.

Source: The Saigon Times Daily

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