Vietnam should prepare for challenges from EU trade pact

Thursday, 2017-11-02 10:23:49
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NDO - Vietnamese exporters are advised to be prepared to deal with stringent regulations if they want to maximise the benefits of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), which is expected to come into effect soon.

Experts, at conference on November 2, stated that the trade pact will eliminate tariffs on 99.2% of Vietnamese exports but warned that domestic enterprises may fail to enjoy such preferential treatment if they do not take the necessary steps immediately.

Expert Phan Duc Hieu from the Central Institute of Economic Management said that the EVFTA is anticipated to boost investment and technological innovations, thereby helping to improve productivity across many sectors, thanks to its broad scope of commitments.

The trade pact was concluded in 2015 and is currently in the process of ratification.

According to Claudio Dordi, leader of the EU’s trade assistance project in Vietnam, the EU has a strict consumer protection policy with high technical barriers on foreign imports, therefore Vietnam should be prepared to deal with these barriers, especially with regards to the rules of origin, before the trade agreement comes into effect.

Former Trade Minister Truong Dinh Tuyen said that Vietnam also faces difficulty in complying with the regulations on intellectual property rights, labour and the environment as, while Vietnamese enterprises are quite apathetic concerning intellectual property rights, this is one of the EU’s top requirements.

In addition, Vietnam’s agricultural products will face hurdles due to food safety regulations as pesticide residues remain high and the quality of exports is inconsistent due to poor harvest and storage practices.

According to experts at the conference, Vietnam, given its limited resources, should concentrate on a number of sectors that the country is strong in, such as garments, footwear and the assembly of electronic devices.

Moreover, Vietnam needs to continue fine-tuning its legal frameworks in order to meet the regulations on labour, intellectual property rights and the environment.

Meanwhile, measures are needed to enhance the quality of the workforce and step up trade promotion activities to further expand the EU market.