EuroCham Participates in an Event with the HCMC Department of Customs on Implementing the EVFTA

On 6 October, EuroCham attended and participated in an event with the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Customs on the implementation of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).
Entitled “Ho Chi Minh City Department of Customs and Businesses Partner together to implement the EU - Vietnam Free Trade Agreement”, the event brought together representatives from the Ministry of Finance, including Vice-Minister Vu Thi Mai; the HCMC Department of Customs, the HCMC People’s Committee including its Vice-Chair Le Thanh Lien; as well as from the General Department of Customs.
EuroCham Chairman Nicolas Audier and Vice-Chair Nguyen Hai Minh joined the event and participated in a panel discussion on the strategic cooperation between European business and the HCMC Department of Customs in the implementation of the EVFTA.
Commenting at the event, Nicolas Audier welcomed the recent introduction of the plan to implement the EVFTA, including the decree providing the list of tariffs, Decision 2298/QD-TCHQ from the General Department of Customs, as well as local guidance from the HCMC DOC. In particular, he highlighted the two webinars EuroCham has co-organised with the HCMC DOC including training sessions on customs procedures, HS Codes, and rules of origin.
Turning to the obligations and responsibilities for companies, Mr Audier discussed the need for companies to meet high standards on, for instance, intellectual property rights and Geographic Indications. Environmental standards are also an important part of the EVFTA, and companies will need to meet high standards to export to the European market. Mr Audier added that European consumers are willing to spend more for products meeting high labour and environmental standards.
The panel then moved on to discuss how the EVFTA can help spur economic recovery and re-build supply chains after the COVID-19 pandemic. EuroCham’s Executive Director Oliver Regner remarked that interruptions to global trade have caused a shortage of some products, and businesses have been forced to find alternative sources and solutions.
However, now the EVFTA has entered into force and eliminated 70 per cent of tariffs on goods exported to the EU and 65 per cent of tariffs on imports from the EU, the EVFTA will provide opportunities to recover export turnover for both sides. Furthermore, Vietnam is a first-mover in signing an FTA with the EU. Therefore, the EVFTA will serve as a basis for the EU to sign other new-generation Free Trade Agreements with more ASEAN countries in particular, and with ASEAN in general. So, the EVFTA will help European businesses to expand their markets and develop supply chains in the world’s fastest-growing region and help them to position themselves in new markets in the future.
Concluding with a discussion of how more FDI could be attracted from the EU, EuroCham’s representatives recommended that customs authorities continue to make their administrative procedures simpler, more streamlined and less time-consuming.

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