Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has highlighted the European Union as Vietnam’s highly important partner while noting that bilateral relations are growing steadily as demonstrated by regular exchange of high-level meetings aiming to deepen mutual understanding and trust
At a reception in Hanoi on January 7 for Vice President of the European Parliament (EP) Heidi Hautala , the government leader said Vietnam has always regarded cooperation between its National Assembly and the European Parliament (EP) as an important pillar of bilateral relations.
He expressed his confidence that this visit to Vietnam by the EP Vice President will contribute to fostering Vietnam-EU ties as well as between the two legislative bodies.
Heidi Hautala told PM Phuc that during the visit, the EP working delegation will hold working sessions with Vietnam’s relevant offices and survey the enforcement of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance, and Trade (VPA/FLEGT).
With regard to the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), she affirmed that the EP will continue listening to Vietnam’s proposals to expedite the ratification of the agreement which is a next-generation FTA. She asked both sides to ensure the effective enforcement to achieve sustainable trade development and assured the EU’s willingness to support Vietnam during the process.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc hosts EP Vice President Heidi Hautala.
Phuc said that Vietnam-EU relations hold development potential and a wealth of opportunities and as such, the two sides should carry out specific measures, including intensifying all-level delegation exchanges, increasing the efficiency of cooperative channels on politics, diplomacy, economics, and development cooperation.
He voiced his hope to receive support from the EP and its Vice President to help accelerate the ratification of the EVFTA, affirming that the early enforcement of the agreement will add fresh impetus for wider cooperation between the two sides especially in economics.
Regarding illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, the PM said that after receiving a “yellow card” warning from the European Commission, the entire political system of Vietnam has joined hands to take drastic measures to combat IUU fishing. He asked for the EP Vice President’s support in calling for the EC’s removal of the yellow card.
Concerning the VPA/FLEGT, Phuc said that Vietnam and the EU officially signed the agreement during his working visit to the EU last October and emphasized Vietnam’s policy of developing the forestry sector sustainably, with a focus on developing timber processing for export and using materials legally.
He informed his guest that he had assigned the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to work together with relevant offices to speed up the finalization of documents for submission towards the ratification of the agreement in the first quarter of 2019.
Vietnam desires to receive support from the EP and its Vice President towards an early ratification of the agreement which serves as a legal foundation for Vietnam’s wood and timber products exported to the EU have official origin certificates, thus bringing about greater economic benefits to both sides.