July 07, 2020 08:49

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Ready to take advantages of opportunities from EVFTA 

10:23 | 01/06/2020

VCN - It is expected that, after being ratified by the National Assembly, the European -Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) will take effect from July 2020. To be ready to take advantage of opportunities from this agreement, the Government as well as ministries and authorities determine quickly to improve institutions, at the same time, promote support and help enterprises participate in production networks and regional and global supply chains.





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It is expected that when taking effect, the EVFTA will help Vietnam's exports to the EU increase about 20% in 2020 compared to before the agreement.

To improve institutions in a timely fashion

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s research, the EVFTA will help Vietnam's export turnover to the EU increase by about 20% in 2020; 42.7% in 2025 and 44.37% in 2030 compared before the agreement.

In terms of macro, EVFTA contributes to increasing Vietnam's GDP an average of 2.18 - 3.25% (2019 - 2023); 4.57 - 5.30% (2024 - 2028) and 7.07 - 7.72% (2029 - 2033).

After the EVFTA comes into effect, the EU is committed to abolishing import duties on about 85.6% of tariff lines, equivalent to 70.3% of Vietnam's export turnover to the EU. After 7 years from the effective date of the agreement, the EU will eliminate import duties on 99.2% of tariff lines, equivalent to 99.7% of Vietnam's export turnover. For a few remaining items (equivalent to about 0.3% of export turnover), the EU is committed to providing Vietnam with a tariff quota (TRQ) with an import duty of 0%. Thus, it can be said that nearly 100% of Vietnam's export turnover to the EU will be eliminated import duties after a short time (7 years).

The benefits are obvious but to take advantage of the opportunities from the agreement, many believe that the preparation, first of all, the institutional improvement needs to be focused.

In this respect, Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh said that the Ministry of Justice has presided over the review of legal documents issued at the central level until September 30, 2019. At the legal level, the total number of documents proposed to be amended and supplemented is two, including the 2005 Intellectual Property Law, revised in 2009 and the 2010 Insurance Business Law.

Specifically, for the 2005 Intellectual Property Law, revised in 2009, the draft Law amending and supplementing a number of articles of the Intellectual Property Law (including obligations under commitments in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and EVFTA) are expected to be submitted to the National Assembly for consideration at the 2nd session of the XVth National Assembly in 2021. Therefore, the Government proposes to apply EVFTA's obligations directly from the time when the EVFTA takes effect to the time when the Law amending and supplementing a number of articles of the Intellectual Property Law has been officially adopted and has come into force.

“For the 2010 Law on Insurance Business, the Government is currently submitting it to the National Assembly for consideration at the 2nd session of the XVth National Assembly in 2021 and proposing the National Assembly to include this law into the ordinance and law-making program in 2021. This bill includes amendments to implement the commitments under CPTPP and EVFTA,” said Minister Tran Tuan Anh.

During the verification process, some National Assembly deputies said that it was necessary to consider revising both the Pharmaceutical Law and the Bidding Law to ensure the legal corridor is consistent and transparent with the EVFTA. In this regard, the Government has also reviewed carefully to propose a plan to amend the law reasonably. As committed in the EVFTA, bidding packages governed by the agreement are open only to EU contractors. Therefore, the Government is planning to issue a separate decree to guide bidding packages governed by the agreement instead of amending the law. This approach is similar to the CPTPP that the Government has been conducting.

“In case the National Assembly decides to approve the EVFTA with the above-mentioned amendments, contents to be amended with a specific roadmap will be included in the Resolution for the National Assembly's approval. Accordingly, the Government will assign ministries and agencies to prepare a draft law and submit it to the National Assembly for approval to ensure the compliance with the provisions of the Agreement,” Minister Tran Tuan Anh said.

To improve competitiveness for businesses

Talking with Customs newspaper, Mr. Vu Anh Quang,Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Vietnam to the Kingdom of Belgium, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, Head of Viet Nam mission to the European Union said: The World Trade Organization (WTO) and EU assess EVFTA as a "new generation, comprehensive" agreement, associated with "social, labor and environmental standards". The EVFTA has higher commitment level than in FTAs ​​that Vietnam has signed, such as: Rules of origin of goods and customs, food safety, intellectual property, legal-institutional issues and sustainable development.

Dr. Le Huy Khoi, Vietnam Institute of Industrial and Trade Policy and Strategy (Ministry of Industry and Trade), also said that motivated by the deep commitments to opening the market in terms of trade in goods, trade in services and investment, EVFTA will have impacts on almost all industries and sectors in Vietnam's economy. In addition technical barriers, concerns also come from the fact that Vietnam's cheap export goods into the EU are at risk of being investigated and imposed anti-dumping tax. Vietnam’s export goods with advantagesalso face the risk of self-defense investigations beyond the threshold if they are exported massively. This will make the EU raise taxes or stop cutting taxes on such items.

To be able to solve challenges and take advantages of opportunities from the EVFTA, some experts said that a currentsolution is to enhance research and forecast of market trends (supply and demand and prices); the tendency to apply technical barriers (in terms of quarantine, environment, food safety, labor and trade union, etc.) in trade from EU countries to give an early warning to all stakeholders in the export value chain (especially agricultural and aquatic products) of Vietnam. This helps export enterprises get ready to overcome technical barriers.

In fact, joining new generation FTAs ​​such as the EVFTA means that Vietnam has entered a big "game" and accepts to face new difficulties and challenges to compete with big countries. Reportedly, to adapt to this context, the Government will issue a plan to implement the EVFTA after the National Assembly ratifies the agreement.

The representative of the Ministry of Industry and Trade said that one of the typical contents in this plan focuses on strengthening the dissemination of the EVFTA to stakeholders in the more creative and innovative forms; establishing and strengthening EVFTA implementation linkages in ministries, agencies and localities. Regarding the legislative and institutional development, the law will be reviewed during the implementation of the agreement and reported to the Government on amendments and supplements to legal documents and submit them to competent authorities for approval in accordance with the roadmap described in the EVFTA.

From the perspective of improving competitiveness and developing human resources, the Government determined to build programs to support and raise competitiveness, speed up technology application for industries and enterprises, especially is small, medium and micro enterprises, in accordance with international commitments; at the same time, prepare solutions to cope with and support the industries and commodities greatly and directly affected by the agreement; and support Vietnamese enterprises to participate in production networks, value chains, regional and global supply chains.

“In addition, the Government will also direct the ministries, agencies and localities, based on these large work groups, to urgently develop a separate implementation plan of their respective units and localities as well as strengthen the supervision of the implementation to ensure efficiency and consistency,” said Tran Tuan Anh.

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From the perspective of specific ministries and sectors, on May 20, the Import-Export Department (Ministry of Industry and Trade) issued a plan to carry out the EVFTA in 2020 and subsequent years. Accordingly, the department will deploy 25 tasks that are divided into five key working groups. The first is the development and issuance of legal documents, the Import-Export Department will focus on building and submitting to the Minister for promulgation a Circular on rules of origin in the EVFTA in June 2020. The second is utilization of the EVFTA to promote export activities; the third is the monitoring and evaluation of the utilization of the EVFTA, the fourth is the communication and dissemination about the EVFTA and the fifth is strengthening the state management of the issuance of certificates of origin and anti-origin fraud.



By Thanh Nguyen/ Huyen Trang