The EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) is expected to come into effect in 2018, offering a window of opportunity for broader trade cooperation between Vietnam and EU member states, including Romania.
Vietnamese ambassador to Romania Tran Thanh Cong
The ways in which Vietnam can fully exploit the advantages offered by the EVFTA to bolster exports and investment into the Eastern European nation are the focus of an exclusive Voice of Vietnam (VOV) interview with Vietnamese ambassador to Romania Tran Thanh Cong.
Reporter: During the Romanian President’s visit to Vietnam in 2016, both sides placed a large emphasis on economic cooperation. What is your assessment of the advantages and disadvantages of such potential cooperation?
Ambassador Tran Thanh Cong: Firstly, there are advantages in some fields of Romania’s particular strengths and Vietnam’s priority includes agriculture, oil and gas, and electronic devices which are the forefront of our bilateral cooperation. Several Romanian businesses have also signed cooperation documents in fields such as oil and gas and information and technology (IT).
Furthermore, we have the ability to bring cooperation prospects to new heights. For example, in the arena of labour, while both nations are currently in the process of negotiating a labour cooperation agreement, number of Vietnamese guest workers sent to work in the Southeast European nation through unofficial channels has amounted to 500-600, primarily in construction, mechanics, shipbuilding, hotelier, and restaurants.
In addition, with its strength in drug materials, Vietnam is able to cooperate with Romania in in the realm of pharmaceuticals. However, there remain several hurdles to be overcome, such as the rather long geographical distance and a lack of market and trade promotion information, and face-to-face talks.
Reporter: The EVFTA is set to come into force this year. How does the agreement provide the impetus for economic cooperation between the two nations?
Ambassador Tran Thanh Cong: There will be many bright prospects for broader cooperation between the two countries after the EVFTA becomes effective. Upon its introduction, Vietnamese goods will enjoy an import tariff of zero percent when entering the Romanian market.
Recently, several Romanian businesses have surveyed the business opportunities in Vietnam. Romania’s policies have also targeted ASEAN partners, including with a vast market of more than 600 million people. After gaining a foothold in this Romanian market, Vietnamese goods, especially farm produce, will continue to penetrate other nations in the region. Romania is now lacking in several key commodities, most notably farm produce.
Reporter: As you told the effective EVFTA will offer a good opportunity for Vietnamese businesses. Can you give them some advice for investing in and exporting goods to the Romanian market?
Ambassador Tran Thanh Cong: Romania’s gradual integration into the European Union (EU) requires it to obey the strict requirements set forth by the EU from which Vietnamese businesses can better understand the legal corridors and regulations of Romania and other nations in the region in order to facilitate their exports to the market without facing any underlying risks.
In my opinion, it is important for businesses to exhaustively research the specifics of market operation in order to conduct their business effectively.
Reporter: What the Vietnamese embassy in Romania should do to support Vietnamese businesses’ investment in the country and provide Romanian enterprises with useful information on Vietnam?
Ambassador Tran Thanh Cong: The Vietnamese embassy has set up a trade office in charge of trade promotion activities. Almost all information on Vietnam are posted on the website of the representative office. There are a host of regular seminars on tourism, trade, markets, and business opportunities in Vietnam as well as forums for Romanian businesses to share their experiences and learn more about business opportunities in Vietnam.
In addition, a number of Vietnamese enterprises are invited to make fact-finding tour of Romania to study several fields such as health and pharmaceuticals. For 2016-2017, we organised 20 trade promotion seminars in many localities throughout Romania with the aim of promoting the image of Vietnam. Recently, many Romanian businesses have successfully entered Vietnam with the support of the Vietnamese embassy.
Reporter: Thank you very much.