Brussels - 18-25 June
On Monday, 25th June, EuroCham concluded its June 2018 mission to Brussels. Co-Chairman Mr. Nicolas Audier and Executive Director Ms. Almut Roessner represented EuroCham Vietnam, engaging in a briefing seminar at the European Parliament and several other public events as well as joining meetings with a variety of key EU institutions and other Europe-based partners throughout the week.
This was also the week when a very important step for the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) took place: the conclusion of its legal review phase. This means that the trade agreement can now be translated into the 22 languages of the EU so that the European Commission can make a proposal to the Council of the European Union, paving the way for signature and conclusion. After signature, the Council will send the trade agreement to the European Parliament to begin what is called the consent procedure (know more here). The EVFTA is now split into two agreements to separate areas of exclusive and shared competence. A second agreement, the Investment Protection Agreement (IPA) will now also be submitted for its own legal review phase.
In the meantime, the Commission is continuing the necessary preparatory work to ensure the effective and timely implementation of the trade agreement, including on animal and plant health (sanitary and phytosanitary issues) and labour issues.
The main goal was to reiterate the strong interest of our members in the timely ratification of the EVFTA this year and provide up-dated information about relevant legislative and administrative developments in Vietnam to decision makers and stakeholders in Brussels.
Mr. Audier and Ms. Roessner met with representatives from the European Parliament; European Commission officials from DG Trade, DG Growth, DG Devco, DG Just and EEAS; the Permanent Representation of Bulgaria to the EU; and former WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy. They also took part in a dialogue with the Minister of Industry and Trade of Vietnam, spoke at a European Parliament Briefing, and were among the panelists at a roundtable organised by amfori on EU FTAs with emerging markets. In addition, EuroCham met with Business Europe and attended the launch of SpiritEurope’s Trade Review 2018.
On 25th June, Mr. Audier shared the stage with H.E. Mr. Tran Tuan Anh, Vietnam's Minister for Industry and Trade, in a dialogue event organised by EuroCham partner amfori. The event, with the presence of H.E. Mr Vu Anh Quang, Ambassador of Vietnam to the European Union, and the latter organisation's leadership and selected business organisations, focused on discussing the state of play and next steps of the EVFTA process and the perspective of European businesses in Vietnam.
The Minister of Industry and Trade of Vietnam H.E. Mr. Tran Tuan Anh and EuroCham at the "EU-Vietnam FTA: State of Play and Next Steps" Dialogue organised by amfori in Brussels
On 20th June, EuroCham was represented by Mr. Audier at the European Parliament Briefing "EU-Vietnam FTA: The Final Push". The session was organised by the European Institute of Asian Studies and supported by the parliamentary group "Friends of Vietnam", headed by the Vice Chair of the International Trade Committee and Standing Rapporteur of the EU-Vietnam FTA in the European Parliament, MEP Mr. Jan Zahradil.
With over 100 participants, the plenum room in the EU Parliament was fully occupied. The briefing was attended by Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), their assistants, representatives of European business organisations and civil society. It focused on discussing the current status of the EVFTA’s ratification process and Vietnam's current economic and socio-political context. Various topics were covered in the briefing, which aimed to make the case for a quick ratification of the agreement, bringing together the views of MEPs, business associations, EU institutions, as well as the Vietnamese perspective.
EuroCham was represented in the main discussion panel by Co-Chairman Nicolas Audier who presented the views of the European business community in Vietnam. The EU Ambassador to Vietnam, H.E. Bruno Angelet, and the Vietnamese Ambassador to Belgium and the EU, H.E. Vu Anh Quang, were also among the keynote speakers.
Previously, on 19th June, Ms. Roessner spoke on behalf of EuroCham at the "EU Trade Agreements with Emerging Markets: is the EU Too Ambitious?" roundtable, co-orgnanised by amfori and the EBO Worldwide Network - of which EuroCham is a founding member. Attendees at the event included several EU institution and business association representatives. Ms Roessner shared the impressive progress Vietnam has made in opening its markets and in improving its legal and administrative framework in recent years. With the other panelists - Mr. Tomas Baert, Head of Unit for Trade Strategy, DG Trade; Mr. Mathias Kende, First Secretary (Trade Policy), Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Belgium; and Mr. Renato Pacheco e Silva Bacellar Neto, President, European Chamber of Commerce in Brazil (CAE) / Chair, European Business Organisation Worldwide Network - the positive impact that comprehensive FTAs can have as a catalyst on the reform process in emerging markets in Asian and Mercosur countries were debated.
Nicolas Audier and Almut Roessner also used the meetings to prepare for the large-scale mission to take place in early October 2018 where EuroCham will be participating on October 10th at a large scale public hearing at the EU Parliament on the EVFTA.