The Hanoitimes - This is the first time a Berlin official publicly voiced the endorsement of the long-delayed agreement.
Germany supports the early signing of a free trade agreement between the European Union and Vietnam, also known as EVFTA, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier stated at a meeting with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in Hanoi on March 25.
He said Germany expected that the agreement would be signed at the earliest, the government portal reported.
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc holds talks with Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier in Hanoi. Photo: VNA
This is the first time a Germany government official voiced the endorsement for the trade agreement.
Germany's support is significant for the signing process as Europe's largest economy currently is Vietnam’s biggest trade partner in the Europe.
EVFTA negotiations lasted from 2012 to December 2015, and its ratification has been delayed. The European Commission (EC) hopes that it can be ratified in 2019, according to the European Parliament (EP).
The EC has described the EVFTA as the most ambitious free trade deal ever concluded with a developing country.
Meanwhile, the EU hopes that the agreement with Vietnam will boost trade and investment, considering it an important stepping stone to a wider EU-Southeast Asia trade deal, something which the EU has been striving towards for nearly a decade.
According to the EP, the deal could potentially boost Vietnam’s GDP by 15%. Over the past ten years, Vietnam’s bilateral trade with the EU has quintupled.
Earlier this month, Vietnamese Deputy Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son visited France and Romania as a special envoy of the Vietnamese prime minister to seek the countries’ support to push for the ratification. Romania is holding the presidency of the EU Council.
Germany eyes key investment sectors in Vietnam
In talks with the Vietnamese PM, Peter Altmaier said Germany wanted to invest in renewables, metro line, and education.
Germany’s authorities and businesses pay great interest in investing in Vietnam and the German government is keen on supporting small- and medium-sized enterprises and startups in Vietnam amid the transition to Industry 4.0, Peter Altmaier said.
During the visit, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and the Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade signed a joint statement to boost trade and investment in energy.
Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh and Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier. Photo: Tapchicongthuong
So far, the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) under the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has conducted a series of programs promoting the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency in Vietnam for the years.
Since 2009, the Up-scaling of Wind Power in Vietnam Project and the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (4E) Project are part of Germany’s support in energy sector in Vietnam.
The projects offer three focal points namely completing legal framework, improving capacity, and boosting technology transfer.
At present, a number of German companies including Siemens are running energy projects in Vietnam.