Wed, 17 Dec 2014. Last updated Tue, 13 Jan 2015 10:51
On December 15th, at Convention Center in Phu Quoc Island, Kien Giang province, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung witnessed the signing ceremony of Joint Declaration to conclude negotiations of Vietnam - Customs Union FTA between Vietnam Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang and Commerce Minister in charge of Economic Commission for Asia and Europe (EAEC) Andrey Slepnhev. Vietnam - Customs Union Free Trade Agreement (VCUFTA) officially launched in Hanoi at the end of March 2013. After 8 official negotiations and many other meetings at the technical level, two parties basically unified the content of the FTA in the comprehensive range, the high level of commitment, and the guarantee of balancing the interests of both parties and taking into account the specific conditions of each party.
Vietnam Chief Negotiator Vu Huy Hoang stated that Customs Union committed to give Vietnam tariff preferences, create big opportunities for Vietnam to export the country's advantage commodity groups like agricultural products, aquatic products, and industrial goods (textiles, garments, footwear, furniture...). "Member countries of Customs Union pledged to give Vietnam the most preferential tariffs, even if it can be equal to 0, for all types of aquatic products and industrial products of footwear; for the majority of textiles and garments; and some industrial products such as wooden furniture, coffee, and tea. If Vietnam can meet the quality requirements of Customs Union, this is a precious chance that VCUFTA brings for Vietnam export. When Vietnam - Customs Union Free Trade Agreement is officially signed, it will create very favorable opportunities for promoting Vietnam export to Customs Union's market, a big market with the population of 170 million people", Mr. Vu Huy Hoang also added.
With VCUFTA, Vietnam agreed to open market following road maps for husbandry products and industrial products including machinery, equipment, vehicles of Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia. These goods are not competitive with Vietnam products, on the other hand, they will contribute to the diversification of Vietnam consumer market. On the side of Customs Union, member countries of this organization will enjoy many priorities and favorable conditions created by FTA. In details, Customs Union will have a great opportunity not only to strengthen economic and commercial co-operation with Vietnam, but also promote trade with other South East Asia and Asia Pacific's countries. Other commitments in Vietnam - Customs Union FTA in fields of investments, intellectual properties, competitions, trade defenses, dispute resolutions, and so on were also agreed on the basis of WTO provisions, in the guarantee balance of interests of both parties, and in accordance with local laws.
Mr. Andrey Slepnhev, Chief Negotiator of Customs Union informed: "Along with the negotiation of VCUFTA, we also discuss about list of projects and priority tasks to supplement the feasibility and the realization of this agreement after signing. Vietnam - Customs Union FTA includes not only merchandise trade but also cooperation in investment and services. This is a "new generation" agreement which can meet all the world current criteria, conditions, and provisions. According to our calculations, after the agreement is signed, the trade turnover between 2 parties will increase $10 billion in 2020".
Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia is currently export markets of Vietnam traditional commodities. If the import-export turnover of Vietnam and Customs Union in 2014 reached $4 billion, after the signing of VCUFTA in the early 2015, it is estimated that Vietnam export will increase 18 - 20% per year. Thereby, up to 2020, the target of reaching USD $10 -12 trade turnover between two parties is completely feasible. Besides, Vietnam exports will continue growing at a higher level than present.
Up to this moment, Vietnam has basically finished Free Trade Agreements with 3 important partners involving European Union, Korea, and the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia. These are 3 big markets with the population of more than 700 million people and the high income, therefore, demands for goods and consumer purchasing power are quite high. According to preliminary calculations, when these Free Trade Agreements are signed, the two-way trade turnover between Vietnam and its partners will grow by an average of 12 - 20% per year. It can be clearly seen that this is a big chance for Vietnam enterprises to boost exports for advantages products, especially some major goods such as textiles, garments, footwear, and agricultural, aquatic, and processing industry. It will not only contribute to promote domestic production but also increase income for labors.